Swimming Against the Unseen Tide
Title: Swimming Against the Unseen Tide
We conducted a study to determine how male and female physicists are evaluated in the classroom and used videotaped lectures in which professional actors – two male and two female – played the role of a physics professor. They each gave a 10-minute physics lecture to a class of students that included blackboard work, a demonstration, and a question-and-answer session. None of the actors were trained in physics but all received the same preparation and memorized the same script.
We then showed each of 126 physics students the lecture by one (chosen at random) of the four “professors” and got them to fill out a survey in which they rated various aspects of the lecture using a five-point scale. The students supplied some personal information but not their own gender, which was noted covertly by the person collecting the surveys.