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Bard College Psychology Professor Kristin Lane Receives NIH Grant To Study Gender Gap in Science



Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
845-758-7008
huang@bard.edu
09-10-2012
Image Credit: Pete Mauney
 
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.––Why do women pursue science majors and careers less than men? Kristin Lane, assistant professor of psychology at Bard College, will use a recently funded $169,000 Academic Research Enhancement (AREA) Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to try to answer this question.

Lane’s project, “The Lonely Scientist: How Implicit Science Construals, Stereotypes, and Attitudes Contribute to the Gender Gap in Science Participation,” builds on findings from cognitive and social psychology showing the influence of attitudes and stereotypes that operate without conscious awareness or intent. While prior work has shown that implicit (less conscious) stereotypes associating “science” with “male” predict women’s plans to pursue science, this grant will allow Lane to take a new approach by focusing on implicit beliefs about the process of doing science. She will investigate whether people believe that science is a solitary, rather than collaborative, endeavor, and if so, if such beliefs impede women’s entry into these fields. Because women, on average, report valuing communal experiences more than men, she reasons, these beliefs may serve as a barrier to women’s science pursuit. Lane’s work also explores how changes in implicit attitudes, stereotypes, and beliefs about science translate into changes in behavior. Consequently, her research has the potential to transform pedagogical strategies for engaging students in science and mathematics, and, ultimately, to increase the capability and capacity of the American scientific workforce.

“An ultimate goal of this research program is to transform the teaching of science at all levels,” says Lane. “If creating an image of science as collaborative rather than solitary increases women’s participation and improves their performance in scientific fields, our next steps would be to develop empirically valid pedagogical interventions that increase women’s representation in these areas.”

This grant from NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development provides three years of support for Lane and her undergraduate collaborators, who will be closely involved at all stages of the research. Each semester, between five and ten Bard undergraduates work in the social psychology lab for academic credit or for pay. Funds from the NIH will allow Lane to support students’ work in the lab during January and the summer, and will allow students to attend national conferences in psychological science.
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ABOUT NIH AREA AWARDS
The NIH, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, is the nation’s medical research agency, making important discoveries that improve health and save lives. It is made up of 27 Institutes and Centers, each with a specific research agenda. The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development focuses on research throughout all the stages of human development, from pre-conception to adulthood, to better understand the health of children, adults, families, and communities.
    The AREA Award represents the NIH’s special effort to stimulate research at educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees for a significant number of the Nation's research scientists, but have not been major recipients of NIH support. AREA funds are intended to support small-scale new and renewal biomedical and behavioral research projects proposed by faculty members of eligible colleges, universities, schools, and components of domestic institutions.
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CAPTION INFO: Kristin Lane, assistant professor of psychology at Bard College, will use a recently funded $169,000 Academic Research Enhancement (AREA) Award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study gender gap in science.
PHOTO CREDIT: Pete Mauney
To download a high-resolution photo, go to: http://inside.bard.edu/campus/departments/pr/transfers/files/Kristin Lane.jpg

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This event was last updated on 09-10-2012