The goal of this project is to understand gender inequalities in science in an interdisciplinary perspective integrating social psychology and physiology. Providing equal opportunities between women and men is a specific task of EU, and this project addresses this European policy.
It is argued that gender inequalities result from the influence of gender stereotypes according to which science is reserved to men. This project is aimed to investigate the stereotype threat theory, according to which when stereo types are made relevant in a test-taking situation, target individuals may fear being viewed through the negative lens of the stereotype.
This evaluative threat creates an extra pressure that hampers their performance. Specifically, this project will examine the mediators of this phenomenon, which are still unknown, by investigating physiological measures of threat and integrating the stereotype threat and the achievement goal theories (Study 1).
Then the conditions leading to stereotype threat or stereotype reactance effect, which occurs when stereotyped individuals outperform non-stereotyped individuals, will be examined (Study 2). Some studies showed that stereotype threat may occur only when the activation of stereotypes is implicit.
This investigation is useful to identify the strategies enabling people to cope with negative stereotypes. Experimental methodologies will be used to manipulate the activation of negative stereotypes relative to math ability of women. The effects of this manipulation will be examined on performance on a math test and on several potential mediators measured by self-reports and cardiovascular indices.
This project will give an international dimension to the career of the researcher by giving her the opportunity to work in an American laboratory that is specialist of psychology of stigma and psychophysiology. This will give the researcher a high scientific quality and the opportunity to develop international collaborations.
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