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Friday, Jan. 15, 2010

NEWS TIP: K-STATE PSYCHOLOGY PROFESSOR WHO STUDIES RACIAL BIAS IN CRISIS SITUATIONS AVAILABLE TO DISCUSS HOW RACISM COULD AFFECT HELPING RESPONSE IN HAITI

MANHATTAN -- Kansas State University's Donald Saucier, associate professor of psychology, is available to discuss how racism could affect aid given to victims in Haiti. Saucier studies the measurement and expression of prejudice. He led a study a year after Hurricane Katrina to survey people's perceptions of the hurricane victims and the help they received.

His findings showed that participants who were less racist thought the victims did not receive adequate help from the government. Participants who were more racist thought the victims received adequate government assistance and were at fault for their situation. Saucier said that like Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti has several elements that studies show trigger acts of discrimination, such as a high cost of help, a high level of emergency and a large amount of time and effort required to help.

Saucier's study is included in a chapter he coauthored about discrimination against out-group members in helping situations in "The Psychology of Prosocial Behavior: Group processes, intergroup relations and helping," published in September 2009.

He can be reached at 785-532-6881 or at saucier@k-state.edu.