In the "blue eyes/brown eyes" exercise created by Jane Elliott in the 1960s, she divided a group of schoolchildren by eye color and characterized one of them (e.g., the blue eyed group) as an inferior group. The aim of the exercise is to show how racism works and how it feels to be discriminated against.

Is the exercise effective? What are the psychological consequences of it? Does the exercise still "work" today? What are the ethics when this exercise is done with adults or children?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Stack Exchange. Perhaps some of the people at Cognitive Sciences SE may know what study you are referring to, but for me personally, it would help if you could provide a reference, a web page, or at least a name of the "small white female". As of now, this question doesn't make sense to me. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Mar 15, 2015 at 11:09
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    $\begingroup$ The experimenters name was Jane Elliot. $\endgroup$ Mar 15, 2015 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ I edited the question a bit. A link would still help a lot. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Mar 16, 2015 at 0:08
  • $\begingroup$ I edited the question somewhat more. Blue eyes/brown eyes is a diversity exercise and not an experiment in the scientific sense. Also, I think it would be more insightful to learn about the actual consequences of the exercise. $\endgroup$
    – user7759
    Mar 16, 2015 at 8:04
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    $\begingroup$ Several survivors of “blue eyes/Brian eyes” experiments — including me — describe our experiences in comments at everything2.com/title/Blue+Eye+%252F+Brown+Eye+experiment $\endgroup$ Jun 25, 2018 at 13:43

1 Answer 1


In addition to the descriptions of these particular students, at the site mentioned above by Kate Gladstone and also shown a bit in the documentary (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jane_Elliott)

You might consider what's known from the broader set of studies using this type of manipulation. This rich literature is valuable for your question because the Blue eyes/Brown eyes study was more a demonstration than a study and has not been repeated much (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minimal_group_paradigm)


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