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Date of Award
Restricted Thesis: Campus only access
Bachelor of Arts
Dr. Crystal L. Hoyt
Despite the advances women have made over the last century, computer science is one of the domains in STEM with the lowest representation of women. It is also a field where there is a belief that brilliance is required for success (FAB). The present study examines the casual role of implicit person theories on undergraduates’ field-specific ability beliefs (brilliance beliefs), expectancy values and sense of belonging in the fields of computer science and psychology and if gender moderates any of these possible effects. Two-hundred and eighty-nine undergraduate students took part in this 15-minute online study (187 identified as female, 102 identified as male). Undergraduate students were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk and the University of Richmond. The participants ages ranged from 18 to 57 (M= 24.24, SD= 7.69). We found that the growth mindset message did not directly influence field-specific beliefs for women (even though it did for men) nor did it directly influence expectancy value and sense of belonging for both men and women in the fields of psychology and computer science. However, our growth mindset message did have a powerful impact on implicit theories, especially implicit person theories, which in turn had an impact on brilliance-beliefs and expectancy value for both men and women. More specifically, (1) a growth mindset message predicted decreased beliefs that brilliance is required for success in the field of computer science and psychology (rather than effort) through more growth mindsets about the nature of people and (2) a growth mindset message predicted increased expectancy value beliefs through increased growth mindsets and decreased brilliance beliefs for both men and women in the fields of psychology and computer science. Our findings holding important practical implications.
Schieffelin, Annette, "The effect of implicit person theories and gender on academic engagement" (2017). Honors Theses. 1012.