White People in Black Bodies: How to Reduce Implicit Bias for a Long Time

White People in Black Bodies: How to Reduce Implicit Bias for a Long Time

From courtroom sentencing to graduate school admissions, from voting on the president to choosing who to sit next to on the bus, our biases play a role in the decisions we make and the actions we take. Most interventions designed to combat implicit bias do not hold up over time or simply do not reduce bias. Amidst these unsuccessful interventions, Mel Slater’s group at the University of Barcelona found one method that did reduce implicit bias of white people against black people and whose effects persisted for an unusually long time.

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Randomized controlled trials of interventions to reduce gender bias in academic hiring

Randomized controlled trials of interventions to reduce gender bias in academic hiring

Biased beliefs about the abilities of underrepresented groups in science can lead to inequality in hiring, promotions, admissions, funding, and more. Given that diversifying the STEMM academy is both just and beneficial to scientific progress, it’s hard to argue against efforts to promote diversity in hiring. In light of this issue, two groups of researchers recently sought to develop and rigorously test evidence-based interventions for counteracting natural human biases, with the specific goal of decreasing the bias against women in the academic STEMM faculty hiring process.

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The Anxious Circuit

The Anxious Circuit

Anxiety is a feeling we all face on a daily basis about our jobs, our relationships, and even the meaning of our lives. But when normal anxiety gets so severe that it interferes with daily functioning it becomes generalized anxiety disorder, a psychiatric diagnosis that 28% of people in the United States will suffer from during some period in their life, costing the economy billions of dollars annually. But where is the seat of anxiety in the brain? In this article (Tae et al. 2011 Nature https://www.nature.com/articles/nature09820) we will explore one of the first studies to ever identify a possible circuit for this important and pervasive feeling...

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Nurturing the Study of Nature

Nurturing the Study of Nature

While demand in recent years for skilled workers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) has grown at a staggering rate, men have claimed a larger share of those positions and earnings compared to women (U.S. Department of Commerce). Biased hiring practices may explain the struggles of recent graduates, but men outnumber women at every point in the STEM pipeline. To better understand the disappearance of women in STEM, Daniel Grunspan and his colleagues at the University of Washington took a closer look at an important checkpoint in scientific careers: undergraduate introductory biology courses

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Belonging & Belongings: Who’s in the Room Depends on What’s in the Room

 Belonging & Belongings: Who’s in the Room Depends on What’s in the Room

Research has shown that ambient belonging, or the feeling of fitting into an environment can have a profound effect on peoples’ behavior. This feeling of belonging can arise from more than just one’s sense of fit with the people in the environment, and is often influenced by physical objects and materials. How we perceive and interpret our own group’s belonging in various communities can influence whether we approach or avoid certain spaces, which can completely alter the courses of our lives. For this reason, it is essential for us to understand how the environments we create influence others.

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Can we have it all? Balancing family with an academic career

Can we have it all? Balancing family with an academic career

In 2000 Mary Ann Mason became the first female Dean of Graduate Studies at UC Berkeley and encountered an auspicious demographic shift—51% of the incoming graduate class was female. Unfortunately, the same trend did not hold true for faculty. While the total number of women faculty had also been increasing (though not at the same rate as students), the gap between tenured male and female faculty remained consistent, and large... Mason wondered whether one contributor to the leakiness could be the difficulty of balancing career and family, which could be particularly challenging for female academics.

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Women’s visibility in science and academia

Women’s visibility in science and academia

The data dive into inequality in STEM continues.While the number of women in science has been increasing for the last twenty years, women are still leaving scientific fields at all stages of their careers. Research about the “leaky pipeline” suggests there is a disproportionate lack of female representation in crucial milestones for scientific career progression, such as receiving prestigious awards, publishing papers in important journals, and applying for patents. There are many ideas about why women continue to leave science as their careers progress, including differences in career goals and interests, parenting, differences in salary for equivalent positions, a lack of female role models and mentors, and explicit and implicit bias. Importantly, each of these factors contributes to a reduction in the visibility of women in science and academia.

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Gender differences in recommendation letters for postdoctoral fellowships in geoscience

Gender differences in recommendation letters for postdoctoral fellowships in geoscience

The data dive into inequality in STEM continues. Letters of recommendation are absolutely key to securing admission to graduate programs and access to postdoctoral or tenure track positions. However, because letters tend to be personal in nature, they are also more susceptible to implicit biases. In the largest study on gender bias in recommendation letters to date, Dutt et al. quantitatively characterize gender differences in letters of recommendation across countries and institutions.

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A Novel Neural Circuit Saps Pleasure in Model of Depression

A Novel Neural Circuit Saps Pleasure in Model of Depression

Grief is a normal response to some of life’s most powerful stressors – like the death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or a serious break-up. However, this grief may not go away for those suffering from depression. Feelings of helplessness, guilt, and lack of self-worth may stick around for extended periods of time, and a stressor isn’t required to trigger a depressive episode. This description may be familiar to many of us; everyone reading this probably knows someone who has gone through depression... In order to investigate the role of the globus pallidus in depression symptoms, Dr. Byungkook Lim’s lab at the University of California – San Diego utilized the best-known mouse model of depression for rigorous investigation.

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