Doctor of Philosophy, New York University (2022)
Bachelor of Science, University of Florida (2016)
Carol Dweck, Postdoctoral Faculty Sponsor
Formal explanations shape children's representations of animal kinds and social groups.
In certain domains, people represent some of an individual's properties (e.g., a tiger's ferocity), but not others (e.g., a tiger's being in the zoo), as stemming from the assumed "essence" of the individual's category. How do children identify which properties of an individual are essentialized and which are not? Here, we examine whether formal explanations-that is, explanations that appeal to category membership (e.g., "That's ferocious because it's a tiger")-help children to identify which properties are essentialized. We investigated this question in two domains: animal kinds (Study 1) and social categories (specifically, gender; Studies 2 and 3). Across studies, we introduced children to novel behaviors and preferences of individuals using either a formal explanation or closely matched wording that did not express a formal explanation. To measure the extent to which children essentialized the novel properties, we assessed their inferences about the stability, innateness, and generalizability of these properties. In Study 1 (N = 104; 61 girls, 43 boys; predominantly White and multiracial children from high-income backgrounds), we found that formal explanations led 5- and 6-year-old children to view novel properties of individual animals as more stable across time. In Studies 2 and 3 (total N = 163; 84 girls, 79 boys; predominantly White, Asian, and multiracial children from high-income backgrounds), we found that formal explanations led 6-year-olds, but not 5-year-olds, to view novel properties of individual girls and boys as more stable across contexts. These studies highlight an important mechanism by which formal explanations guide conceptual development. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
View details for DOI 10.1037/dev0001447
View details for PubMedID 36136783
An Emphasis on Brilliance Fosters Masculinity-Contest Cultures
2022; 33 (4): 595-612
Women are underrepresented in fields in which success is believed to require brilliance, but the reasons for this pattern are poorly understood. We investigated perceptions of a "masculinity-contest culture," an organizational environment of ruthless competition, as a key mechanism whereby a perceived emphasis on brilliance discourages female participation. Across three preregistered correlational and experimental studies involving adult lay participants online (N = 870) and academics from more than 30 disciplines (N = 1,347), we found a positive association between the perception that a field or an organization values brilliance and the perception that this field or organization is characterized by a masculinity-contest culture. This association was particularly strong among women. In turn, perceiving a masculinity-contest culture predicted lower interest and sense of belonging as well as stronger impostor feelings. Experimentally reducing the perception of a masculinity-contest culture eliminated gender gaps in interest and belonging in a brilliance-oriented organization, suggesting possible avenues for intervention.
View details for DOI 10.1177/09567976211044133
View details for Web of Science ID 000774027400001
View details for PubMedID 35318861
- Women-Particularly Underrepresented Minority Women-and Early-Career Academics Feel Like Impostors in Fields That Value Brilliance JOURNAL OF EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGY 2022; 114 (5): 1086-1100
Children's Intuitive Theories of Academic Performance
2020; 91 (4): E902-E918
How do children reason about academic performance across development? A classic view suggests children's intuitive theories in this domain undergo qualitative changes. According to this view, older children and adults consider both effort and skill as sources of performance (i.e., a "performance = effort + skill" theory), but younger children can only consider effort (i.e., a "performance = effort" theory). Results from two studies (N = 240 children aged 4-9) contradict the claim of theory change, suggesting instead that children as young as 4 operate with an intuitive theory of academic performance that incorporates both effort and skill as explanatory concepts. This work reveals that children's understanding of academic performance is more continuous across development than previously assumed.
View details for DOI 10.1111/cdev.13325
View details for Web of Science ID 000491592700001
View details for PubMedID 31631332
Explanation as a Cognitive Process
TRENDS IN COGNITIVE SCIENCES
2019; 23 (3): 187-199
Understanding how people explain is a core task for cognitive science. In this opinion article, we argue that research on explanation would benefit from more engagement with how the cognitive systems involved in generating explanations (e.g., attention, long-term memory) shape the outputs of this process. Although it is clear that these systems do shape explanation, surprisingly little research has investigated how they might do so. We outline the proposed mechanistic approach to explanation and illustrate it with an example: the recent research that suggests explanations exhibit a bias toward inherent information. Taking advantage of what we know about the operating parameters of the human mind is likely to yield new insights into how people come up with explanations.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.tics.2018.12.004
View details for Web of Science ID 000458506700003
View details for PubMedID 30658885
Associations between oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR) methylation, plasma oxytocin, and attachment across adulthood
INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGY
2019; 136: 22-32
The neuropeptide oxytocin (OT) has been implicated in a wide range of affiliative processes. OT exerts its functions via OT receptors, which are encoded by the oxytocin receptor gene (OXTR). Epigenetic modification of OXTR through the process of DNA methylation has been associated with individual differences in behavioral phenotypes. Specifically, lower levels of OXTR methylation have been linked to better social and affective functioning. However, research on epigenetic mechanisms of OXTR is scarce in non-clinical populations, and even less is known about epigenetic variability across adulthood. The present study assessed methylation levels at OXTR CpG site -934 and plasma OT levels in 22 young (20-31 years, M = 23.6) and 34 older (63-80 years, M = 71.4) participants. Lower levels of OXTR methylation and higher plasma OT levels were associated with less self-reported attachment anxiety in young but not older participants, with largely independent contributions of OXTR methylation and plasma OT levels. In contrast, in the overall sample, lower levels of OXTR methylation were associated with higher self-reported attachment avoidance. Age analysis suggested that these results were largely driven by young adults. Plasma OT levels were unrelated to attachment avoidance. Taken together, these findings support the emerging notion in the literature that epigenetic properties of OXTR, in addition to endogenous OT levels, are related to adult attachment. Further, the age effects observed in the associations between OXTR methylation, plasma OT, and adult attachment emphasize the importance of adopting a developmental perspective when studying properties of the OT system and their relation to affiliative processes. Findings contribute to growing evidence suggesting that epigenetic modification of genes regulating OT pathways and endogenous OT levels are associated with the way people form and maintain intimate social relationships.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2018.01.008
View details for Web of Science ID 000459644600004
View details for PubMedID 29410310
View details for PubMedCentralID PMC6072619
- Dissecting Spear Phishing Emails for Older vs Young Adults: On the Interplay of Weapons of Influence and Life Domains in Predicting Susceptibility to Phishing ASSOC COMPUTING MACHINERY. 2017: 6412-6424