Anyone who can get more than 6,500 academics to do one thing (except whisk them away to Hawaii for a conference) should be commended. But that was the sample size of professors for an experiment just published in Psychological Science, by Katherine Milkman of Wharton, Modupe Akinola of Columbia and Dolly Chugh of New York’s Stern school.
The researchers set up an experiment in which made-up “prospective students” e-mailed 6,548 professors to set up a meeting. The researchers sought to answer a simple question: could something as small as the timing of a meeting increase discrimination against minorities and women? The supposed new students requested ten minutes of the professors’ time. The only details changed from email to email was, first, the name of the student, to signal sex or ethnicity, and second, the time requested for meeting, either later on the day the email was sent, or any time a week later.
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