Meet the McNair Scholar: Leah Oswinn

UNLV psychology major Leah Oswinn has dealt with psychology researcher Jennifer Rennels in the Child & Child Rebel Lab for the last 3 years. Oswinn’s research study into the associations children make about males and females when they have actually been raised by male primary caretakers differs from other research study she’s seen in her time in the laboratory or read about. Here, she speaks more in depth about her research and her takeaways from the McNair Scholars Program, which supports undergraduate research that prepares first-generation and underrepresented trainees for future graduate research studies.

For my McNair research, I have actually been dealing with a sample size of 20 kids ages four-and-a-half to six-and-a-half who have actually or have actually had a male main caregiver. To my understanding, there are no developmental studies that specifically look at kids who have male primary caretakers, so it’s interesting to be in uncharted area.

In the very first year of life, the majority of babies spend as much as 70 percent of their waking hours with a female caregiver, whether that caretaker is their mother, an aunt, grandmother, or nanny. The pattern of female caretakers continues as children go to school. Nursery school teachers are primarily female, therefore are preschool and grade school instructors.

We’re looking at the male caregiver experience to see if there are any differences in the associations children make about warmth with women and power with males. We’re aiming to discover exactly what their implicit and explicit mindsets are that might cause them to associate women with warmth and males with power. We will then compare that group to a control group of another 20 children in the same age variety that have a female primary caregiver.

Gender is an interesting subject to check out from this perspective because it’s various from other social categorizations such as race. Kids reveal an own-group preference when they’re extremely young– boys prefer kids and women choose women– and the preference is very strong. That own-group preference has the tendency to be more powerful in girls than it remains in kids.

As we age, women continue to reveal a choice for females, but males also reveal a preference for females by the adult years. We don’t really know why that is.

This phenomenon is various from other social classifications, too. With race, for example, extremely young kids reveal an own-group preference, but as they age, their choice shifts to whatever race the high-status group is where they live. Gender is an abnormality.

There are a great deal of theories as to why both genders have a preference for women by their adult years. Some scientists suggest that it stems from primary experience with female caregivers or the violent and aggressive representations of males in media. It’s most likely a combination of things.

We are only in the preliminary stages of examining our data, however in general, children are revealing gender-typical associations and attitudes regardless of caretaker experience, indicating that they’re associating women with warmth and males with power in both male and female main caregiving groups. However, in the male primary caregiver group, we’re seeing more associations with males and warmth than with women and power, which is fascinating. I’ll be continuing this study beyond this summer term with the McNair Program.

I’ve made a great deal of buddies in the McNair Program. It’s great to be a part of a group of individuals who likewise have 10 different balls in the air at the very same time, whether it’s collecting data, writing documents, extracurriculars, or the overwhelming process of applying to graduate school. Being surrounded by people I can share my ideas, hopes, and fears with, who are simply as consumed with research as I am has been an emphasize of my undergraduate studies.

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