Date of Completion

12-14-2014

Embargo Period

11-7-2014

Advisors

Hart Blanton, Ph.D., Rhiannon Smith, Ph.D.

Field of Study

Psychology

Degree

Master of Arts

Open Access

Open Access

Abstract

The current project examined the effect of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) role model gender and communality and communal goal endorsement on college women’s math performance and their interest in, perceived belonging in, and perceived communal goal affordance of STEM. The first study was conducted online and did not include math performance, while the second study was conducted in the laboratory and added a math assessment. It was hypothesized that exposure to a female role model would result in greater math performance and interest and perceiving belonging in STEM, exposure to a communal role model would result in increased interest in, perceived belonging in, and perceived communal goal affordance of STEM fields, and gender and communality would interact such that gender would only make a difference for communal role models. In addition, it was hypothesized that the effects of role model communality would be greater for participants with higher communal goal endorsement. The hypotheses were not supported. There was no effect of role model communality, and effects of role model gender were not consistent across the two studies. Contrary to predictions, communal goal endorsement was positively related to interest and perceiving belonging in STEM in both studies.

Major Advisor

Diane Quinn, Ph.D.

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