A Network of Associations: How Increasing the Association between Communal Traits and Science Can Increase Women’s Participation in Science Fields

Document Type

Grant Proposal

Date Accepted

Summer 2012

Project Description/Abstract

The purpose of this project was to demonstrate how a network of cognitive associations can contribute to the underrepresentation of women in science. Previous research has repeatedly demonstrated an implicit (or unconscious) stereotype associating men with science more than women. That stereotype is almost always examined in isolation, and so a major contribution of this work is to uncover other associations that may cognitively support that stereotype, thus making it difficult to change or overcome. These other associations include connections between gendered traits (i.e., agentic traits, such as independence, and communal traits, such as nurturance), sex (i.e., male and female), the self, and academic disciplines (i.e., the sciences and humanities). Data was collected for four studies to demonstrate the relationships between these associations and how they may contribute to the underrepresentation of women in science.

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