Stereotypes and Biases

Who do you think is “really, really smart”? Our recent work shows that girls as young as six start to associate high intellectual talents with men more than women. How do children learn these gender stereotypes? What kind of interventions can effectively minimize the endorsement of these stereotypes? We are also interested in documenting children’s racial beliefs about intelligence, and how these stereotypes vary by culture. 

Motivation and Achievements

Why do children choose to engage in some activities and stay away from others? Children’s ideas about whether they are as competent as others might affect their aspirations. This work investigates how children make social comparisons from linguistic input and how these inferences influence their choices. Given women’s underrepresentation in STEM professions, it is critical to identify these subtle cues in children’s everyday life, and changing how parents and teachers talk may help increase girls’ and women’s involvement.

Intergroup Relations

Our world is comprised of social categories. We often see ourselves and others in terms of their group membership. How do children form these social categories? How do they reason about the interactions between people from the same or different social groups? For example, do they think it is not okay to be friends with members of another group, especially when members of their own group are present? How do these expectations shape children’s intergroup behaviors in the real world?