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Under My Skin: Reducing Bias in STEM through New Approaches to Assessment of Spatial Abilities Considering the Role of Emotional Regulation

  • Reducing gender bias in STEM is key to generating more equality and contributing to a more balanced workforce in this field. Spatial ability and its components are cognitive processes crucial to success in STEM education and careers. Significant gender differences have consistently been found in mental rotation (MR), the ability to mentally transform two- and three-dimensional objects. The aim of this pilot study is to examine factors in psychological assessment which may contribute to gender differences in MR performance. Moreover, findings will inform the development of the new approaches to assessment using computer adaptive testing (CAT). (1) Background: The study examines the impact of emotional regulation on MR performance in primary school children whose mean age was 9.28 years old. (2) Methods: Skin conductance was measured to assess the impact of emotional reactivity (ER) on performance during an MR task. (3) Results: Patterns of ER influence response time (RT) on specific items in the task. (4) Conclusions: Identifying the effects of emotional arousal and issues of test construction such as stereotyped stimuli and item difficulty in tests of spatial ability warrants ongoing investigation. It is vital to ensure that these factors do not compromise the accurate measurement of performance and inadvertently contribute to the gender gap in STEM.

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Author:Michelle Lennon-Maslin, Claudia Michaela Quaiser-Pohl, Vera Ruthsatz, Mirko Saunders
Parent Title (English):Social sciences
Document Type:Article
Date of completion:2024/06/10
Date of publication:2024/06/12
Publishing institution:Universität Koblenz, Universitätsbibliothek
Release Date:2024/06/12
Tag:CAT; STEM; emotional regulation; gender gap; gender stereotypes; skin conductance; spatial abilities
First page:1
Last page:24
Institutes:Fachbereich 1 / Institut für Psychologie
Licence (German):License LogoEs gilt das deutsche Urheberrecht: § 53 UrhG