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Recognition of Subtle Bias Tempers Explicit Gender Stereotyping Among STEM Students

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2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Minneapolis, MN

Publication Date

August 23, 2022

Start Date

June 26, 2022

End Date

June 29, 2022

Conference Session

NSF Grantees Poster Session

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Paper Authors


Lorelle Meadows Michigan Technological University

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Dr. Lorelle Meadows joined Michigan Technological University in 2014 where, as founding dean, she led the creation of a new honors college uniquely committed to inclusion and equity and eliminating barriers to high impact educational practices. Dr. Meadows received her B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Oceanic Science from the University of Michigan, College of Engineering. As an educator and administrator in higher education, she conducts interdisciplinary research at the intersection of social psychology and engineering education, with specific emphasis on the influence of gender stereotypes in student teams.

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Denise Sekaquaptewa University of Michigan

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Dr. Denise Sekaquaptewa is University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor of Psychology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. Her research program in experimental social psychology focuses on stereotyping, implicit bias, and the experiences of women and underrepresented minorities in science and engineering. Her research program has been supported by the National Science Foundation, and the National Center for Institutional Diversity. She received the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award (2015), and the Sarah Goddard Power Award (2012), from the University of Michigan for her work on diversity-related issues.

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Darnishia Slade Michigan Technological University

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Darnishia Slade-Morris is a PhD student in Michigan Technological University's Applied Cognitive Sciences and Human Factors Program. Her research focus includes self-efficacy, mental toughness, and microaggressions. Darnishia is also the Pavlis Educator and Manager of Global Engagement Programs in the Pavlis Honors College at Michigan Tech. She’s a foodie who enjoys spending time with friends and family as well as impromptu road trips!

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Logan Burley University of Michigan

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Logan is currently working as a project manager in the psychology department at the University of Michigan. During his undergraduate career at the University of Michigan, he studied psychology and women's studies. His personal research focuses on how individuals perceive nonbinary gender in others.

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The overarching goal of this research project is to provide a novel contribution to perceived bias research by testing the hypothesis that mere exposure to instances of subtle gender bias in STEM settings can have important effects on observers, depending on whether they recognize such events as gender bias or do not see it as bias. The goal of the first of five experiments was to assess how witnessing subtle gender bias events influences explicit stereotype activation among people who recognize the events as gender stereotyping as well as those who do not. We utilized video materials that were developed and tested in our previous NSF research that show a group of four engineering students, 2 women and 2 men, working together on an engineering design task. There are two versions of the video: one in which the students engaged in subtle gender bias (bias version), and one in which the students engaged in neutral interactions (control version). Over 400 participants were recruited from a large midwestern research university from computer science and engineering majors in which 30% or fewer majors are women. The survey included assessments of perceptions of gender stereotyping in the video, general stereotype endorsement and STEM stereotype endorsement, and three individual difference measures (gender-based rejection sensitivity, sexism sensitivity and negative emotionality) used as covariates in analyses. We found that participants who saw the bias video reported greater explicit stereotyping when they failed to recognize gender bias in the video. When they did recognize bias, they reported explicit stereotyping at levels similar to those in the control condition. This pattern suggests that exposure to subtle gender bias events may have activated gender stereotypes, but when participants recognized the events as gender bias, they tempered their explicit stereotyping.

Meadows, L., & Sekaquaptewa, D., & Slade, D., & Burley, L. (2022, August), Recognition of Subtle Bias Tempers Explicit Gender Stereotyping Among STEM Students Paper presented at 2022 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Minneapolis, MN.

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