Event Title

Equal, but Different: Science Communication Impact on Beliefs of Sex Differences in the Brain

Location

CSU 253

Start Date

18-4-2016 11:05 AM

End Date

18-4-2016 12:05 PM

Student's Major

Psychology

Student's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Mentor's Name

Dawn Albertson

Mentor's Department

Psychology

Mentor's College

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Description

A misunderstanding remains that male and female brains differ greatly. These perceived differences and capabilities are believed to be biologically determined. However, there are no significant differences in cognition between the sexes and no research supporting the idea that these slight differences cause women to be less capable at gaining academic distinction in math or science. This idea has been used to justify the unequal treatment of girls in the U.S. educational system and has provided rationale for discriminating against women in the workplace. The term 'Neurosexism’ refers to this phenomena of citing exaggerated understandings of neuroscience to promote sexism. Participants were randomly assigned to view one of eight lectures covering research supported information regarding sex difference in the brain. These vary in gender of presenter, presenter’s level of reliance on popular assumptions, and inclusion of information on neurosexism. Participant’s understanding and retention will be tested and they will assess the perceived credibility of the presenter. Though their education credentials are identical, we expect the female neuroscientist to be perceived as less credible. We anticipate that her perceived credibility decreases if she provides information regarding neurosexism. We anticipate the highest levels of understanding and retention will come from participants viewing male presenters relying on popular assumptions and omitting information regarding neurosexism. We predict videos which rely on popular assumptions to be retained at higher rates than more scientific videos. Identifying the sources of misunderstanding will help scientists better communicate their findings and may in turn promote equality amongst the sexes.

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Apr 18th, 11:05 AM Apr 18th, 12:05 PM

Equal, but Different: Science Communication Impact on Beliefs of Sex Differences in the Brain

CSU 253

A misunderstanding remains that male and female brains differ greatly. These perceived differences and capabilities are believed to be biologically determined. However, there are no significant differences in cognition between the sexes and no research supporting the idea that these slight differences cause women to be less capable at gaining academic distinction in math or science. This idea has been used to justify the unequal treatment of girls in the U.S. educational system and has provided rationale for discriminating against women in the workplace. The term 'Neurosexism’ refers to this phenomena of citing exaggerated understandings of neuroscience to promote sexism. Participants were randomly assigned to view one of eight lectures covering research supported information regarding sex difference in the brain. These vary in gender of presenter, presenter’s level of reliance on popular assumptions, and inclusion of information on neurosexism. Participant’s understanding and retention will be tested and they will assess the perceived credibility of the presenter. Though their education credentials are identical, we expect the female neuroscientist to be perceived as less credible. We anticipate that her perceived credibility decreases if she provides information regarding neurosexism. We anticipate the highest levels of understanding and retention will come from participants viewing male presenters relying on popular assumptions and omitting information regarding neurosexism. We predict videos which rely on popular assumptions to be retained at higher rates than more scientific videos. Identifying the sources of misunderstanding will help scientists better communicate their findings and may in turn promote equality amongst the sexes.

Recommended Citation

Fry, Laura. "Equal, but Different: Science Communication Impact on Beliefs of Sex Differences in the Brain." Undergraduate Research Symposium, Mankato, MN, April 18, 2016.
http://cornerstone.lib.mnsu.edu/urs/2016/oral-session-04/4