How can stereotypes — particularly those relating to gender and ethnicity — drive us to draw the wrong conclusions? If I say the word American, you’re more likely to think of a white person. If I say the word Doctor, you’re more likely to think of a...
How can stereotypes — particularly those relating to gender and ethnicity — drive us to draw the wrong conclusions? If I say the word American, you’re more likely to think of a white person. If I say the word Doctor, you’re more likely to think of a man. There’s a famous riddle involving a surgeon (link below) that you may have heard, which has an obvious answer that we often struggle to find. Obviously, that is, if you look beyond stereotypes.
It’s something that my guest Kirsten Morehouse has researched. Kirsten is a PhD candidate in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University, with a secondary field in Data Science, where she works under the supervision of Professor Mahzarin Banaji .
Kirsten is also the co-president of Harvard’s Women in Psychology (WiP). She uses behavioural and computational methods to study humans’ attitudes and beliefs about social groups, especially beliefs that conflict with consciously held values or ground-truth data.
I’m interested in this subject because although stereotypes — like other forms of bias — can serve a useful purpose, or at least did for our ancestors — they can also drive very poor decision-making. If we want to mitigate human risk and get the best out of people, we need to recognise where inaccurate stereotypes cloud our judgement.
To learn more about Kirsten and her research, visit her website: https://kirstenmorehouse.wordpress.com/
To read the surgeon riddle research we referred to on the show:
For more on her colleague Tessa Charlesworth: https://tessaescharlesworth.wordpress.com/
To learn more about Caroline Criado Perez and her book ‘Invisible Women’ - https://carolinecriadoperez.com/
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