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Title: Developing an implicit association test to explore implicit and explicit stereotypes of empathy in scientists among university students in England
Author: Qin, Yishu
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 9964
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2019
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Over the past 50 years, strong social norms have developed in Western societies that encourage people to curb the overt expression of prejudice and stereotypes based on social categories such as gender and race. Yet, approaches applying new measurement of stereotypes, focusing on implicit evaluations and beliefs that are not under conscious control, suggest that such suppressed thoughts are not simply eliminated but may leak out in more subtle ways. Recent work has demonstrated that one of the subtle ways is through feature-based stereotyping. Regarding the issue of women's underrepresentation in STEM fields, we argue that instead of referring to gender-based stereotypes, students may look to other characteristics (e.g., empathy) as a feature-based cue to determine whether they fit the image of particular careers. The main purpose of the PhD project was to develop a new Implicit Association Test (IAT) to explore people's unconscious feature-based stereotyping of empathy in scientists. It was comprised of three stages. In the first stage, the procedure of how to systematically design and computerize the online Science-Empathy IAT (SE-IAT) was presented. In the second stage, psychometric properties of the newly developed SE-IAT were examined and issues with the original SE-IAT were addressed by modifying the test to the Single-Category SE-IAT (SSE-IAT). In the third stage, comparisons between implicit and explicit attitudes were made using the modified SSE-IAT and self-report questionnaires. Results showed that implicit and explicit stereotypes were distinct constructs. Despite the self-report positive attitudes, participants demonstrated implicit bias against empathy in scientists. Moreover, different gendered patterns, as well as variations by major subject, were also observed for implicit and explicit stereotypes. Finally, explicit stereotype, but not implicit stereotype, was found to relate to scientific career aspirations. These findings indicate that the 'socially clumsy' image of scientists may still be a deeply embedded stereotype amongst University students in England. Interventions such as counter-stereotyping role models are in demand to attract more people to pursue science.
Supervisor: Baker, Sara Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Stereotypes of Scientist ; Empathy ; Implicit Association Test