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Bigler, Rebecca S.

Visiting Fellows in Humanities

Research field

Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies; emergence of intergroup phenomena in early and middle childhood.


Rebecca S. Bigler is Professor of Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies at The University of Texas at Austin. Before being appointed at the University of Texas at Austin in 1991, Dr. Bigler received a B.A. with high honors in Psychology from Oberlin College, and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from The Pennsylvania State University.Dr. Bigler’s studies have primarily investigated on the causes and consequences of social stereotyping and prejudice among children, with a particular focus on gender and racial attitudes.

At present, the Developmental Intergroup Theory by Dr. Bigler and hir colleague Lynn Liben is one of the most outstanding and widely adopted theoretical accounts for the emergence of intergroup phenomena in early and middle childhood. Her experimental works have contributed to enlighten the interplay between maturational processes (e.g., spontaneous drive toward categorization, cognitive ability, language development) and social influences (e.g., socialization practices, labeling and segregation of group members, etc.) in the emergence of stereotypes and prejudice among young children, and how these processes affect children’s cognitions (e.g., memory and reasoning) and behaviors (e.g., intergroup contact and friendship). Building upon these evidence, ze has worked to develop and test intervention strategies aimed at reducing children’s social stereotyping and intergroup biases.

In the last decade, Dr. Bigler has expanded hir research interest in new and promising directions, including consequences of single sex schooling, the emergence of political attitudes in children, the perception of discrimination, and the impact of sexualized media portrayals of girls and women on children’s psychological development and wellbeing.

Her work has appeared in top journals in the field of psychology (e.g., Science, Child Development, Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, Developmental Psychology), and has been covered by major media outlets (Newsweek, NBC Dateline, ABC News, The New York Times). Her work has been supported by Teaching Tolerance and the National Science Foundation. Across her career, she has received excellence awards for both hir research and teaching activity. Ze is currently the Executive Director of the American Council for Coeducational Schooling. Dr. Bigler is a supporter of gender neutral language.

Structure Department of Psychology (Professor of Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies)

The University of Texas at Austin

Austin,  USA

Unibo reference

Prof. Carlo Tomasetto

Dipartimento di Psicologia