Who Deserves to be in STEM? How Threat and Confirmation of the Gender Hierarchy Impact Helping Behavior Towards Prospective STEM Majors
Term of Award
Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)
Document Type and Release Option
Thesis (open access)
Copyright Statement / License for Reuse
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Department of Psychology
Committee Member 1
Committee Member 2
Current events that either threaten or confirm the current gender hierarchy may impact people differently. This can depend upon one’s group membership and their attitudes towards a fair and just society. When people are asked to help others while facing uncertainty of the hierarchy, they may choose to help or lash out in an effort to re-establish the hierarchy or dismantle the hierarchy. STEM faculty were presented with information that either did not threaten the gender hierarchy (i.e., maintaining gender inequality) or that threatened the current gender hierarchy (i.e., reaching gender equality). Participants were then given an opportunity to offer help either to a prospective male or female STEM student with a scholarship essay and then they completed the Social Dominance Orientation Scale (Ho et al., 2017). The primary hypothesis was that participants would award more money to an essay writer of the same gender, however the amount awarded would differ based on information regarding the gender hierarchy. With the limited number of participants we were able to recruit, there is not sufficient statistical power for confirmatory hypothesis testing. An exploratory analysis of the data trends suggested that the hypotheses may not be supported in this sample. Data regarding Social Dominance Orientation is not reported at this time and will be analyzed as part of an ongoing study. This research has the ability to increase awareness and willingness to help women entering STEM majors.
Gnall, Samantha A., "Who Deserves to be in STEM? How Threat and Confirmation of the Gender Hierarchy Impact Helping Behavior Towards Prospective STEM Majors" (2020).
Research Data and Supplementary Material