May 22, 2012
Timing Can Influence Whether Women And Minorities Face Discrimination
Timing can affect whether females and minorities experience discrimination – says a study published today in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Emails were sent from fictional prospective doctoral students to 6,500 professors across 258 institutions, requesting a meeting either that day or next week. Prospective doctoral students with Caucasian male names were 26% more likely to be granted an appointment with a professor when requesting one for next week than those with names signaling that they were minorities (African American, Hispanic, Indian or Chinese) or females. But if the requested appointment was for that day, students of all types were equally likely to get an appointment.
These results fit well with previous research showing that decision-makers thinking more abstractly rely more on stereotypes to fill out their picture of future events and their impact. The research both highlights discrimination in academia and shows that subtle shifts in context, such as timing, can alter patterns of race- and gender-based discrimination, even eliminating it altogether.
The study was conducted by professors Katherine Milkman at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Modupe Akinola at Columbia Business School and Dolly Chugh at New York University Stern School of Business.
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