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IU-MSI STEM Initiative

Mary Murphy



Dr. Mary Murphy directs the Mind and Identity in Context Lab at Indiana University housed in the Department of Psychological and Brain Studies. Broadly speaking, her research focuses on developing and testing theories about how people's social identities and group memberships interact with the contexts they encounter to affect their thoughts, feelings, behaviors, physiology, and motivation. Her lab has several projects from which STEM summer scholars can choose to be involved.

Some of the central research questions include:

  • How is identity threat signaled to people who belong to stigmatized or stereotyped social groups?
  • Which cues can be included in threatening environments to make them more comfortable for people who are stigmatized?
  • How do environments signal that their organization welcomes diversity, and how is that interpreted by newcomers?
  • Why do women leave Math, Science, and Engineering fields at a much greater rate than men?
  • Are there differences in how bias is detected by majority and minority group members?
  • Why are interracial interactions often uncomfortable for both majority and minority members? What can we do to lessen that discomfort?
  • What are the effects of interracial friendships for majority and minority members?

Dr. Murphy takes a multi-method approach to illuminating the answers to these research questions. STEM Summer scholars will assist with developing and designing experiments, helping pilot the materials for the studies, recruiting and running participants through the research protocol, entering and analyzing data, and presenting data at regional and national conferences. Affiliating with the Mind and Identity in Context Lab will expose STEM summer scholars to all aspects of the research process in social psychology including design, data collection, analysis, and interpretation. STEM summer scholars will work closely with Dr. Murphy and her graduate students so that they develop the skills and abilities to create experiments that match their own interests and collect, analyze, and present data that follow from those interests and experiments. The Mind and Identity in Context Laboratory will expose scholars to an active lab environment and provide excellent training for graduate school in Psychology. For more information about the lab, please visit mindandidentityincontext.com.

Revised: December 13, 2017

Sarah Larson
Program Coordinator
IU-MSI STEM Initiative
Indiana University

Dr. Jack L. Schmit
Assistant Dean, University Graduate School
Coordinator, IU-MSI STEM Initiative