School of Education Guest Lecture
Mindsets in Context: Exploring Mindsets in Educational and Organizational Settings
Presented by Mary Murphy, Associate Professor
Indiana University Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences
Thursday, March 23, 2017
12:00 – 1:15 pm
Open to the public.
Abstract: The cues hypothesis, a central tenant of the contextual approach to social identity threat, posits that subtle situational cues can trigger threat, even in the absence of overt prejudice or discrimination. The present research uses the cues hypothesis to investigate the psychological, motivational, and performance effects of several situational cues for women in STEM settings. Specifically, in an experiment and a longitudinal, experience-sampling study, we examine how students’ perceptions of college instructors’ mindsets shape women’s experiences in STEM. Moreover, we explore how this cue interacts with others in the local environment to influence women’s sense of belonging, interpersonal concerns, and performance in STEM. Experimental data demonstrate that “experts” with fixed mindsets inhibit women’s STEM performance, particularly in contexts in which they form a minority. Data from the longitudinal study reveal that when women perceive their STEM professors to have a fixed mindset, it engenders identity threat in the classroom, and ultimately leads to reduced commitment to STEM fields over time. Results underscore the importance of examining the meaning that people draw from multiple situational cues to better understand the psychological experiences and outcomes of stigmatized individuals in mainstream settings.
Bio: Dr. Mary Murphy is an Associate Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University. Her research focuses on understanding how people’s social identities and group memberships, such as their gender, race, and socio-economic status, interact with the contexts they encounter to affect people’s thoughts, feelings, motivation, and performance. In the realm of education, her research illuminates the situational cues that influence students’ academic motivation and achievement with an emphasis on understanding when those processes are similar and different for majority and minority students. She develops, implements, and evaluates social psychological interventions that reduce identity threat for students and examines their effects on students’ motivation, persistence, and performance. In the realm of organizations and tech, her research examines barriers and solutions for increasing diversity in STEM fields. Mary earned a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD from Stanford University. She completed a NSF postdoctoral fellowship at Northwestern University. In 2012, she joined the faculty of Indiana University and, in 2013, was named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science (APS). She is the recipient of over $8 million in federal and foundation grants including a recent $2.2 million NSF CAREER award for her research on strategies to improve diversity in STEM. Her research has been profiled in The New York Times, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Scientific American, and NPR, among other outlets.