Subtitle/Alternate Title

False Memories and Gender Stereotypes

First Advisor

Dr. Amanda Miller

Thesis Committee Member(s)

Dr. J.T. Howe; Dr. Catherine Kleier; Dr. Lara Narcissi

Reader

Dr. Erin Winterrowd

College

Regis College

Degree Name

Regis College Honors in Psychology

Department (optional)

Psychology

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Number of Pages

58

Abstract

False memories and gender stereotypes were used to investigate if inducing a false memory of having a negative experience in a STEM field would influence participant’s preferences pertaining to the field. Women were recruited or volunteered to participate in the study. In the first session, participants completed a series of questionnaires to gauge their pre-existing experiences and attitudes towards STEM and non-STEM related subjects (n = 268). In the second session, participants whose responses from the first survey qualified, were randomly assigned to either the control (n = 74) or experimental condition (n = 71). Participants received a history profile that they were told was personalized to them, but it was actually a generic list of items. In the experimental condition, one of the critical items on the profile told the participant that they “had a negative experience in a math class”. Participants then were asked to elaborate on and justify this false experience. Participants in the experimental condition ended the experiment with a task used to evaluate if the false memory was successful. They then completed all of the measures used in the first session again to compare how their experiences and attitudes towards STEM items may have changed since exposure to a false memory. Results indicated that the false memory was successfully implanted, as indicated by a memory and belief that the false event (i.e., having a negative experience in a math class) occurred, but this did not transfer to altered preferences regarding STEM.

Date of Award

Spring 2019

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