Champaign, IL 61820
Michael's research aims to promote social equity in childhood by revealing the psychological processes and developmental mechanisms that underlie children’s developing conceptions of fairness and emerging social biases. Specifically, Michael's research examines three interrelated questions: (1) How do conceptions of equity develop? (2) How do social biases develop? And (3) How can we promote the concern for equity and disrupt the formation and expression of social biases?
Michael takes a constructivist approach in answering these questions, which means he focuses on how children experience, interpret, and respond to the world around them, and the role of those experiences, interpretations, and responses in shaping their development. For example, in a few recent studies, Michael and his colleagues have demonstrated how children’s beliefs about the racial inequalities they see in the world shape their developing racial biases (Rizzo et al., in press, 2021), how children perceive and respond to individually- and structurally-based inequalities (Rizzo et al., 2020; Rizzo & Killen, 2020), and how children’s experiences with advantaged and disadvantaged status shape how they think about individuals and groups (Rizzo & Killen, 2018; Rizzo, Roberts, & Rhodes, revise-and-resubmit).
Michael’s work has been published in several journals including Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, American Psychologist, Current Directions in Psychology, Child Development, Developmental Science, and Developmental Psychology and has been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), and Beyond Conflict.
Google Scholar: LINK
Rizzo, M. T., Britton, T. C., & Rhodes, M (in press). Developmental origins of anti-Black bias in White US children: Exposure to and beliefs about racial inequality. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. https://osf.io/7s39r
Rizzo, M. T., Green, E. R, Dunham, Y., Bruneau, E., & Rhodes, M (2022). Beliefs about social norms and racial inequalities predict variation in the early development of racial bias. Developmental Science, 25, e13170. http://doi.org/10.1111/desc.13170
Roberts, S. O., & Rizzo, M. T. (2021). The psychology of American racism. American Psychologist, 76, 475-487. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/amp0000642
Rizzo, M. T., Elenbaas, L., & Vanderbilt, K. E. (2020). Do children distinguish between resource inequalities with individual versus structural origins? Child Development, 91, 439-455. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/cdev.13181
Rizzo, M. T. & Killen, M. (2020). Children’s evaluations of individually and structurally based inequalities: The role of status. Developmental Psychology, 56, 2223-2235. https://doi.org/10.1037/dev0001118
Elenbaas, L., Rizzo, M. T., & Killen, M. (2020). A developmental science perspective on social inequality. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 29, 610-616. https://doi.org/10.1177/096372142096414