Timing can affect whether women and minorities face discrimination

May 21, 2012

Timing can affect whether females and minorities experience discrimination — says a study published today in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Emails were sent from fictional prospective doctoral students to 6,500 professors across 258 institutions, requesting a meeting either that day or next week. Prospective doctoral students with Caucasian male names were 26% more likely to be granted an appointment with a professor when requesting one for next week than those with names signaling that they were minorities (African American, Hispanic, Indian or Chinese) or . But if the requested appointment was for that day, students of all types were equally likely to get an appointment.

The difference, the paper explains, is that the time delay between the decision to meet and the moment of the requested appointment affects the way the request is processed. An individual considering scheduling an appointment today thinks concretely and considers "Can/where/when will I do it?" whereas an individual considering the same appointment in the distant future thinks more abstractly, and considers "Is doing it worthwhile/valuable/desirable?" Those who focus on the desirability of a meeting are more likely to discriminate against women and than those who focus on logistical concerns.

These results fit well with previous research showing that decision-makers thinking more abstractly rely more on stereotypes to fill out their picture of future events and their impact. The research both highlights discrimination in academia and shows that subtle shifts in context, such as timing, can alter patterns of race- and gender-based , even eliminating it altogether.

Explore further: Study finds minority consumers will voluntarily pay more for goods and services to assert status

More information: To read the full papers, visit: Temporal Distance and Discrimination: An Audit Study in Academia pss.sagepub.com/content/early/ … 97611434539.abstract

Follow up: "Heterogeneity in Discrimination?: a Field Experiment" papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cf … ?abstract_id=2063742

Related Stories

Study finds minority consumers will voluntarily pay more for goods and services to assert status

October 20, 2011
It has been well-documented that minorities are subject to discrimination in product pricing and customer service. What is startling is the result of a new study professors at the USC Marshall School of business in conjunction ...

Ethnic differences in appointment keeping affect health of diabetes patients

October 27, 2011
Ethnic differences in appointment keeping may be an important factor in poor health outcomes among some minority patients with diabetes, according to a new study.

Recommended for you

Researchers pave new path toward preventing obesity

July 24, 2017
People who experience unpredictable childhoods due to issues such as divorce, crime or frequent moves face a higher risk of becoming obese as adults, according to a new study by a Florida State University researcher.

Using money to buy time linked to increased happiness

July 24, 2017
New research is challenging the age-old adage that money can't buy happiness.

Exposure to violence hinders short-term memory, cognitive control

July 24, 2017
Being exposed to and actively remembering violent episodes—even those that happened up to a decade before—hinders short-term memory and cognitive control, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National ...

Higher cognitive abilities linked to greater risk of stereotyping

July 24, 2017
People with higher cognitive abilities are more likely to learn and apply social stereotypes, finds a new study. The results, stemming from a series of experiments, show that those with higher cognitive abilities also more ...

Psychologists say our 'attachment style' applies to social networks like Facebook

July 24, 2017
A new investigation appearing this week in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin suggests a strong association between a person's attachment style—how avoidant or anxious people are in their close relationships—and ...

Neuroticism may postpone death for some

July 24, 2017
Data from a longitudinal study of over 500,000 people in the United Kingdom indicate that having higher levels of the personality trait neuroticism may reduce the risk of death for individuals who report being in fair or ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.