Our lab is currently focused on three questions:
Stereotyping and Prejudice
Our research focuses on how we perceive faces and extract from them information relevant to stereotyping and prejudice. Much of this work uses event-related brain potentials (ERPs) to examine in detail the different processing stages that may be involved in assessing what social groups other people belong to, and how these early perceptual processes are related to the later activation of stereotypes and prejudice. Other studies examine how stereotype activation and application can be changed. Finally, we look at how individuals control the activation and application of stereotypes, and how it is affected by general executive function abilities.
Understanding and Reducing the Gender Gap
in Math and Science
This research ultimately seeks to understand and ameliorate the gender gap that exists in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Some of this research examines the role of identity threat and belonging. For women in math and science, identity threat takes the form of a fear that they could be judged in light of negative stereotypes about their gender group. This identity threat, coupled with other factors such as the low representation of women in STEM, can then lead to a low sense of belonging. We are examining how such identity or stereotype threat impairs performance and learning in math and science among female undergraduate students. We are also assessing other factors that impact belonging, and how low sense of belonging compromises performance and persistence. A large component of this work is the development and testing of theory-based interventions to increase women’s representation and performance in STEM.
Adolescent Substance Use
This research takes a takes a multi-level perspective to understand adolescent marijuana and alcohol use. Some of this work looks at genetic, neural, and social factors that relate to behavior regulation, and how these factors explain current levels of marijuana use, as well as change in use over time. Other research examines basic motivational and attentional processes related to alcohol consumption.