Photo by Nevit Dilmen
Photo by Nevit Dilmen

Hierarchy Enhancing Myths

I’ve examined the importance of hierarchy-enhancing myths in perpetuating unequal relations between groups. SDT has historically included hierarchy-enhancing myths as a vital part of hierarchy maintenance, and in my work, I’ve focused on a relatively newer myth, which is the natural progression of racial progress. The mythology of racial progress is the belief that racial progress is a natural and inevitable consequence of the passage of time, leading individuals to believe there has been significantly more racial progress than what is supported by evidence.

With Dr. Jennifer Richeson and Dr. Michael Kraus I am investigating the sociocontextual factors that undergird people’s reactions to increasing racial and ethnic diversity in America. In particular we are focusing on the relationship between the diversity represented in people’s local contexts and their overestimation of racial progress. With Dr. Ivy Onyeador we are also researching overestimation of racial economic progress intersectionally, by asking how gender complicates people’s understandings of progress.

Papers in progress include:

  1. Exposure to Rising Societal Economic Inequality Reduces the Misperception of Racial Economic Inequality
Sa-kiera T. J. Hudson, PhD
Postdoctoral Associate in the Social Perception and Communications Lab

My research interests include race, gender, sexual orientation, and power.


We used 10 different framings to understand people’s lay understandings of the Black-White wealth gap. Estimates were largely robust …