Nicholas Camp, University of Michigan, Program in Organizational Studies

Blue language: What police body camera footage can tell us about racial disparities in officer communication
Nicholas Camp


Fall 2021
Lecture Time: 
Friday, September 3, 2021 - 1:30pm to 3:00pm
Lecture Location: 

R0220, Ross Building


Each year, approximately 19 million Americans are pulled over by the police. How do these everyday contacts contribute to persistent racial gaps in police-community trust in the U.S.? And how can we intervene to build trust between law enforcement and communities of color? I use a novel source of data — police body camera footage— to reveal racial disparities in police officers' interpersonal communication and their causal effects on citizens' institutional trust in the police. In turn, community members evaluate officers’ language and tone through the lens of their trust in law enforcement. I conclude with ongoing research on these cycles of racial inequity- and how we might study and break them.

Recording & Additional Notes

Nick Camp studies the social psychology of racial inequality, focusing on where institutions and individuals come into contact. His main program of research examines the role routine police-citizen encounters play in undermining police-community trust, and how these disparities can be addressed, combining analyses of officer-worn body camera footage with community surveys. In other research, he examines the psychological consequences of racial inequities for how individuals consider people, places, and policies.

Prior to coming to Michigan, Nick was a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University, where he received his PhD in Social Psychology in 2018. He graduated from Columbia University with a B.A. in Psychology in 2009.

Reading List

Tyler, T. R., Goff, P. A., & MacCoun, R. J. (2015). The impact of psychological science on policing in the United States: Procedural justice, legitimacy, and effective law enforcement. Psychological science in the public interest, 16(3), 75-109.