Do the “Eyes” Have It? A Program Evaluation of Jane Elliott's “Blue-Eyes/Brown-Eyes” Diversity Training Exercise1


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    The authors thank David Alderton, Gabrielle Cablitz, Jamie DeCoster, Jack Dovidio, Alice Eagly, Carlos Escoto, Marty Giesen, Ian Jansma, Mark Jekanowski, Marten Kooistra, Jacqueline Modde, Brian Mullen, Jessica Neptune, William Shadish, Eliot Smith, and Eleanor Strehl for their valuable contributions throughout this program evaluation. The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not reflect the official position of Elliott & Elliott Eyes, Inc.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Tracie L. Stewart, who is now at Department of Psychology, Georgia State University, 33 Gilmer Street, Unit 2, Atlanta, GA 30303-3082. E-mail:


The effectiveness of Jane Elliott's well-known “blue-eyes/brown-eyes” exercise in reducing college students’ stereotyping and prejudice was assessed. College students were randomly assigned to either the exercise group or a comparison group. Blue-eyed and brown-eyed exercise participants were given discriminatory versus preferential treatment, respectively; a procedure purportedly designed to sensitize participants to the emotional and behavioral consequences of discrimination. Participation in the exercise was found to be associated with White students (a) indicating significantly more positive attitudes toward Asian American and Latino/Latina individuals, but only marginally more positive attitudes toward African American individuals; and (b) reporting anger with themselves when noticing themselves engaging in prejudiced thoughts or actions—negative affect that theoretically could prove to be either helpful or detrimental in promoting long-term reduction of stereotyping and prejudice.