Check it out. (Wonder if something like this would work for philosophy)
Princeton University psychologist Susan Fiske took brain scans of heterosexual men while they looked at sexualised images of women wearing bikinis. She found that the part of their brains that became activated was pre-motor – areas that usually light up when people anticipate using tools. The men were reacting to the images as if the women were objects they were going to act on. Particularly shocking was the discovery that the participants who scored highest on tests of hostile sexism were those most likely to deactivate the part of the brain that considers other people’s intentions (the medial prefrontal cortex) while looking at the pictures. These men were responding to images of the women as if they were non-human.
I’m not particularly shocked that the hostile sexists were the most prone to this! From here. (Thanks, Mr Jender.)
Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini, a Nobel Prize-winning neurologist who discovered critical chemical tools that the body uses to direct cell growth and build nerve networks, opening the way for the study of how those processes can go wrong in diseases like dementia and cancer, died on Sunday at her home in Rome. She was 103.
Her story is amazing and I am looking forward to reading her autobiography, In Praise of Imperfection.
She defied Mussolini, survived the Nazi’s, had a long career at Washington University in St. Louis, won a Nobel Prize, served as a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, was made a senator for life in Italy and was the recipient of many, many honours.
It’s a girl thing (spoof version) December 7, 2012
Over at the Telegraph:
A group of British female scientists have made a spoof video of themselves strutting around in high heels and losing their make-up in science labs – to the song ‘I’m Sexy and I Know It’ – in response to the “demeaning” science ‘girl thing’ video published by the European Commission earlier this year.
Women in sciences and philosophy December 4, 2012
I’ve had a number of really interesting conversations with Athene Donald, who’s done a lot of important work on women in the sciences. These conversations have led to her doing a blog post on women in philosophy, but also appealing for more information regarding sexual harassment in the sciences. I’m very interested to see what emerges.
I’ve been frustrated by not finding many psychological studies of intersectionality. This study of the intersections of gender and race seems to be one of the first. Let’s hope there are many more to come! (Thanks, TD.)
Racial and gender stereotypes have profound consequences in almost every sector of public life, from job interviews and housing to police stops and prison terms. However, only a few studies have examined whether these different categories overlap in their stereotypes. A new study on the connections between race and gender — a phenomenon called gendered race — reveals unexpected ways in which stereotypes affect our personal and professional decisions.
Sexism at Science Journal Nature November 27, 2012
A pretty striking statement about the underrepresentation of women from the Editors at Nature. A cause for cautious optimism? Might have been nice if they’d said more about what those ‘unconscious factors’ are, but the resulting heuristic is still a promising one:
We believe that in commissioning articles or in thinking about who is doing interesting or relevant work, for all of the social factors already mentioned, and possibly for psychological reasons too, men most readily come to editorial minds. The September paper speculated about an unconscious assumption that women are less competent than men. A moment’s reflection about past and present female colleagues should lead most researchers to correct any such assumption.
We therefore believe that there is a need for every editor to work through a conscious loop before proceeding with commissioning: to ask themselves, “Who are the five women I could ask?”
Science: It’s a girl thing September 30, 2012
Remember that awful video from the EU commission that was supposed to attract girls to science? There’s now a contest sponsored by the European Science Foundation to come up with something better. You can see the other videos from the campaign on the youtube channel. (If you’re on twitter, look for #sciencegirlthing)
Here’s one video from the campaign (she’s a philosophy student too! And she quotes Hume!):
Recommend readings rejecting implicit bias? September 10, 2012
A student asked me for reading recommendations establishing the existence of implicit bias. No prob, I thought of a few just while standing there in the hallway. Then the student asked me for counterarguing material. Err… help?
Finally, Someone Asks How Men Balance a Career & Family September 5, 2012
From Inside Higher Ed: “Male Scientist Balancing Act”
Numerous studies have focused on how women in academic science balance their quest for career advancement with their family responsibilities. A study released here at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association (by researchers who have done considerable research on women in science) turns to male scientists, and asks how they balance work and home responsibilities.
The scholars conducted in-depth interviews with 74 physicists and biologists who are graduate students or faculty members at prestigious universities, and the results illustrate options that male scientists have that many female scientists who have or want children lack.
Some of those interviewed expressed awareness of how they benefited [from having stay at home wives]. “For me it’s a little easier because I have a wife that has stayed home and taken care of [the children]. I imagine it would be much much more challenging if I didn’t have a spouse that was planning on staying home,” said one.
But others seemed decidedly less sympathetic to the impact of their choices. Asked, “Do you think that having children then is difficult to manage with being a scientist?” one physicist said, “No, absolutely not. That’s why you have a wife.”
P.S. The title of this post contains at least 25% snark.