PhD Fellow

Marianna Zhang


Stanford Profile

Department: Psychology

Markman Lab


Bias in how people think about gender, race, other social categories, and how that maintains social disparities: To reduce the gender disparity, an exploding market of storybooks intends to boost young girls’ interest in these areas. However, these storybooks often contain language that may undermine this goal. Comparisons to boys as the reference point (e.g. “girls are just as good as boys at __”) have been shown to actually maintain stereotypes against girls’ abilities and thus may limit girls’ aspirations. Contrasting femininity with interest in target careers (e.g. “while other girls played with dolls, she did __”) may prevent feminine girls from identifying with women in that career. Depicting women in a career as exceptional (e.g. “better than anyone else”) may seem daunting to girls, who already by age 6 think they lack exceptional talent. Our research project examines the effects of these elements on 5- and 6-year-old girls’ interest in and stereotyping of male-dominated careers.