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Statement on Racism
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Statement on Racism

From the Governing Board and the Diversity and Inclusion Committee

June 5, 2020

Announcing the Task Force on Racial Discrimination. Learn more.

The reality of structural racism was brought again into sharp and disturbing focus last week as the world bore witness to the death of George Floyd. His death, along with those of Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, reveal anew the racism, police brutality, and discrimination that Black communities across the United States and elsewhere face on an everyday basis.

The Psychonomic Society recognizes that as the global coronavirus pandemic continues, Black people, as well as other people from minoritized backgrounds –  groups that are marginalized or persecuted, not simply groups that are smaller in number – are at disproportionately higher risk of illness, financial strain, bereavement, and death.

The Psychonomic Society stands in solidarity with victims of discrimination, and in opposition to all forms of racism, sexism, and social and health injustice.

We recognize that many of our colleagues, including our students, encounter racism and discrimination on a daily basis. The impacts of these encounters accumulate over time and lead to a mountain of injustice. Many of our colleagues have spoken about feeling unsafe, as if they do not belong, and about feeling exhausted from the daily struggle.

It is our collective responsibility to work to eradicate racism by confronting it wherever we encounter it. We will continue to challenge discrimination through our research, teaching, and civic engagements. We encourage all our Society members to educate themselves further about racism and to engage in actions that help identify and work towards dismantling structures that support racism.

We support and endorse statements issued in recent days by many of our sister organizations in the psychological sciences. Before issuing a statement of our own, we wanted to develop a set of concrete actions that we intend to carry out in the coming months. We now have done that, by formulating specific steps that go beyond simple statements of support, by committing ourselves to tangible actions meant to better understand and counter racism and all of its insidious effects.

First among these steps will be a scientific contribution to the problem: the Psychonomic Society has committed to organizing a special issue of our open access journal Cognitive Research: Principles and Implications that will be devoted to this topic. The special issue will address research related to systemic racism, the cognitive fallout from discrimination, police violence, vigilantism, and more.

The Society also now plans to host a special symposium on this topic to take place at our annual meeting in November 2020. As with the open access special issue above, this symposium will be open freely to the public via live streaming and on-demand viewing.

Members of the Governing Board have donated to Psychonomic Society in support of the J. Frank Yates Student Travel Award (donate), the SPARK Society (donate), and other causes dedicated to fighting racism and to enhancing the safety and well-being of victims of discrimination.

In addition, the Society is now assembling a special Task Force that will examine and help combat racism and help address such issues as the lack of diversity in the psychological sciences, including in cognitive psychology, cognitive science, and cognitive and behavioral neuroscience.

We hope to add to this list of concrete actions targeting racism. We call on the full membership of the Psychonomic Society to join us in our words and in our actions.

To share your comments and ideas, please email us at

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