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Jane Elliot's Blue Eye/Brown Eye Experiment

Jane Elliot performed an experiment with her 3rd grade class which has made an impact on the field of social psychology and everyone who has experienced some version of it since that time. It demonstrated the significance of stereotypes and how they influence the behavior of both those who hold them and those who are the objects of them.

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The 1968 Experiment
Jane Elliot, a 3rd grade teacher in Iowa, created an experiment to demonstrate to her all-white class the effects of discrimination. She developed it in response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. She has since indicated that her goal was to demonstrate how destructive discrimination can be.

The Premise
In this exercise, the teacher identified each student as having either blue or brown eyes Brown-eyed students had to wear an identifying collar. She declared that the blue-eyed students were smarter, better-behaved and generally superior. She even gave a quasi-scientific rationale for this conclusion. Blue-eyed students got privileges that the brown-eyed students did not, for example being able to use new ...

Solution Summary

In 1968, Jane Elliot devised an experiment to demonstrate to her 3rd grade class the effects of discrimination by distinguishing between the blue-eyed and brown-eyes students. This solution describes that experiment, its context, short-term impact and long-term implications.