Our new article in Psychology of Women Quarterly describes a set of studies that examined the influence of gender on how individuals make emotional attributions. Specifically, we had participants read a narrative about a female character dealing with negative emotions such as anxiety or doubt in the context of a STEM class. We then asked the participants why the character was feeling those emotions. Across three studies as well as an internal meta-analysis that examined the pattern across the studies, we found that men and women sometimes differ in the way they make attributions in this context. The male participants were more likely than the female participants to think that our female character felt anxiety and doubt in her STEM class because she was not adequately prepared. On the other hand, the female participants were more likely than the male participants to think that our female character felt anxiety and doubt because of the effects of stereotype threat and awareness of bias.
This research was done in collaboration with Dr. Melanie Green and Kaitlin Fitzgerald at University at Buffalo and Dr. Geoff Kaufman at Carnegie Mellon. You can read more about the article and other our research on our research page.