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Religious Diversity in Science: Stereotypical and Counter-Stereotypical Social Identities

Sharp, Carissa, Leicht, Carola, Rios, Kimberly, Zarzeczna, Natalia, Elsdon-Baker, Fern (2021) Religious Diversity in Science: Stereotypical and Counter-Stereotypical Social Identities. Group Processes & Intergroup Relations, . ISSN 1368-4302. E-ISSN 1461-7188. (doi:10.1177/1368430220987598) (KAR id:84097)


Research shows that scientists tend to be less religious than the general population, and scientists’ religious affiliation and participation have declined over time (Ecklund & Park, 2009; Ecklund et al., 2008). Given the demographic differences between scientists and the general population, it was predicted that scientists who are religious would be regarded as having a counter-stereotypical combination of social identities. However, across five studies, we found that people’s own religious identities played a moderating role in the perception of a religious scientist. Although atheist participants perceived religious scientists as being more counter-stereotypical than atheist scientists, the same was not consistently found for nonreligious (but not atheist) or religious participants. These findings have important implications for debates around the underrepresentation of religious individuals in science. As religious individuals do not perceive these two identities to be incompatible, it may be stereotypes that others have about religious individuals and the culture of science more generally, rather than self-stereotypes, that are hurdles for religious individuals choosing a scientific career. Future research should take these findings into account and explore other potential barriers that lead to the underrepresentation of religious individuals within STEM fields.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/1368430220987598
Projects: Science and Religion - Exploring the Spectrum
Uncontrolled keywords: counter-stereotypes, diversity, religion, science, social identity, STEM, stereotypes
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Leadership and Management
Funders: [37325] UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Carola Leicht
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2020 11:55 UTC
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 19:44 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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