Linda Arrighi: “Interactive Effects of Sex Hormones, Psychosocial Stress and Self-Efficacy on Cognitive Sex Differences”

In Students by General Account

Cognitive sex differences are influenced by biological and social factors. Studies have found an effect of sex hormones and gender stereotypes. My PhD project, supervised by Prof Markus Hausmann and Prof Richard Crisp, builds upon my Masters placement, which was also at Durham University, and it aims to investigate the psychological, hormonal and neural mechanisms underlying the effect of gender stereotypes and stress on cognitive sex differences. It is assumed that specific biological, psychological and social factors interact with each other, thereby mediating the different effect that gender priming and stress have on men’s and women’s cognitive performance. My hypotheses are that men will experience stereotype boost in a stressful situation, while women will be more sensible to stereotype threat.

I hope that the results of my PhD study can have direct relevance for the understanding of cognitive sex differences which might have implications for education, gender equality and the STEM debate. During my PhD, I will loosely collaborate with the Women’s Brain Project, an international organisation dealing with sex/gender differences, women’s brain and women’s mental health – which might lead to publications and exchange of data. Lastly, I hope to be part of the Athena Swan Committee within the department during my PhD, since I was part of it during my MSci Neuroscience degree at University of Glasgow.