Exploring the relationship between implicit and explicit gender-STEM bias and behavior among STEM students using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure

Lynn Farrell*, Louise McHugh

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The current study aimed to explore the relationship between implicit and explicit gender bias in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, and selection behavior among seventy STEM students. The selection behavior focused on gendered beliefs about STEM ability by assessing via a selection task how often participants chose a male or a female as the better performer on a number of STEM-related tasks. Participants then completed an Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) and rating scales to assess implicit and explicit bias respectively. Men and women STEM students exhibited a statistically significant, large implicit pro-Men-STEM bias while women also demonstrated a significant pro-Women-STEM bias. Explicitly, both groups demonstrated a Male-STEM/Female-Arts bias. While selection task scores were not significantly biased, they did correlate with implicit scores on the Men-STEM IRAP trial-type. The results highlighted the subtle nuances that can be revealed by assessing both implicit and explicit gender-STEM biases, particularly when utilizing a measure such as the IRAP. Limitations and future research directions are addressed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)142-152
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Contextual Behavioral Science
Early online date24 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2020



  • Gender stereotypes
  • Gender-STEM bias
  • Implicit bias
  • Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure

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