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Sherri Gilliland, Graduate Records



Department of Psychology 
125 Moore Building 
The Pennsylvania State University 
University Park, PA 16802-3106

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"To me, the atmosphere created by the women's movement was like breathing fresh air after years of gasping for breath. If anyone believes that I credit it too much for changes in my own life, I have only this reply: I know I did not become a significantly better social psychologist between 1969 and 1972, but I surely was treated as a better social psychologist" (Sherif, 1983, p. 280). 

We are proud that a leader in the modern social psychology of gender, Carolyn W. Sherif, was a member of the Penn State faculty. She was among the first to argue that it was important to understand gender as a socially constructed category. She emphasized the role that power and status play in stereotyping women and women's behavior, and the role of the self in gender identity. Our research builds on this foundation. 


Stephanie Shields focuses on three interrelated topics. First, she examines social psychological applications of cutting edge gender theory. For example, she uses the perspective of "doing gender," the proposition that gender is actively created through ongoing interactional work, to study the interconnection of gender, power, and beliefs about emotion (e.g., "How are beliefs about regulating emotion connected to beliefs about being a woman or a man?") Second, she is interested in developing "best practices" for study of the intersectionality of social identities. Third, she studies the social context of psychological research, especially as it bears on the psychology of women and gender and women's participation in American psychology. 

Terri Vescio has three primary lines of gender research. First, she studies the conditions that encourage and discourage powerful men from behaving in stereotypic and patronizing ways toward their female subordinates and how low power women respond to the stereotypic acts of powerful men. Second, she studies male and female speech patterns, examining whose contributions to discussions are better remembered and most influential. Third, she studies how female leaders respond to and cope with the threat in traditionally masculine domains.  

Janet Swim's research examines, in general, the implications of eco-feminist theory, and, more particularly, preferences for gender-role consistency, especially for men, for concern about environmental problems, willingness to engage in pro-environmental behaviors, and to support for pro-environmental policies.

Reginald Adams examines gender-emotion stereotypes. He is interested in the extent to which stereotypic appearance cues functionally correspond to emotional expression in signaling dominance and affiliation. His research examines how these cues mutually inform and interact with one another. 

Janet Swim examines everyday experiences with sexism and heterosexism and the role that goals and social context plays in determining people's coping responses to these experiences. Of particular interest is the role that goals, self- efficacy, and response efficacy places in coping responses, particularly confronting. 

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