Psychology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Professor Emerita of Psychology and of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
I’m interested in two broad domains––the psychology of gender and the role of nonverbal communication––as well as their intersection. I regard gender as a central psychological dynamic that includes but is not reducible to the study of sex differences. For me, gender is more often a stimulus variable and my questions have to do with examining when gender matters in sizing up other people; why males continue to be regarded as the standard against which all behavior is judged; how sexual minorities are construed and evaluated; and what the effects are when women are stereotyped as emotional. I am also interested in exploring the consequences of being the target of seemingly innocuous gender prejudice. For example, we have investigated how women react to hearing sexist jokes or are subtly sexually harassed in a job interview. We are now investigating the processes involved when one’s sexuality or gender is questioned. Nonverbal behaviors are also of special interest because they lie out-of-awareness and typically operate off-the-record. They reveal information about an individual’s various states and attitudes as well as operate to connect and disconnect social relationships. One of my goals is to determine when and how behaviors like facial expressions and body postures reinforce or undermine power differences between people.