Andrei Cimpian

Andrei Cimpian
New York University | NYU · Department of Psychology

PhD, Stanford

About

115
Publications
106,330
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3,920
Citations
Introduction
For additional information, please see my lab's website: http://cimpianlab.com

Publications

Publications (115)
Article
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Stereotypes are typically defined as beliefs about groups, but this definition is underspecified. Beliefs about groups can be generic or statistical. Generic beliefs attribute features to entire groups (e.g., men are strong), whereas statistical beliefs encode the perceived prevalence of features (e.g., how common it is for men to be strong). The p...
Article
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Despite the numerous intellectual contributions made by women, we find evidence of bias against them in contexts that emphasize intellectual ability. In the first experiment, 347 participants were asked to refer individuals for a job. Approximately half of the participants were led to believe that the job required high-level intellectual ability; t...
Article
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Understanding how people explain is a core task for cognitive science. In this Opinion article, we argue that research on explanation would benefit from more engagement with how the cognitive systems involved in generating explanations (e.g., attention, long-term memory) shape the outputs of this process. Although it is clear that these systems do...
Article
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According to ambivalent sexism theory, prejudice toward women has two forms: hostile (i.e., antipathy toward women) and benevolent (i.e., patronizing and paternalistic attitudes toward women). We investigated whether 5- to 11-year-old children’s gender attitudes exhibit this bipartite, ambivalent structure. Consistent with this possibility, latent...
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Feeling like an impostor is common among successful individuals, but particularly among women and early-career professionals. Here, we investigated how gender and career-stage differences in impostor feelings vary as a function of the contexts that academics have to navigate. In particular, we focused on a powerful but underexplored contextual feat...
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A new parent-report measure was used to examine parents’ person and process responses to children’s math performance. Twice over a year from 2017-2020, American parents (N = 546; 80% mothers, 20% other caregivers; 62% white, 21% Black, 17% other) reported their responses and math beliefs; their children’s (Mage = 7.48 years; 50% girls, 50% boys) ma...
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Past research has explored children’s gender stereotypes about specific intellectual domains, such as mathematics and science, but less is known about the acquisition of domain-general stereotypes about the intellectual abilities of women and men. Here, the authors administered Implicit Association Tests to Chinese Singaporean adults and 8- to 12-y...
Preprint
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Beliefs about the malleability of intellectual ability—mindsets—shape achievement. Recent evidence suggests that even young children hold such mindsets; yet, no reliable and valid instruments exist for measuring individual differences in young children’s mindsets. Here, we developed an instrument for this purpose—the Growth Mindset Scale for Childr...
Preprint
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Understanding how children think of leadership may provide important insights on the roots of adult gender gaps in leadership ambition. In three studies, we evaluated children’s anticipation of social support for leaders as well as their own motivation to pursue leadership roles, paying close attention to the way that gender may influence children’...
Article
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Recent advances have made it possible to precisely measure the extent to which any two words are used in similar contexts. In turn, this measure of similarity in linguistic context also captures the extent to which the concepts being denoted are similar. When extracted from massive corpora of text written by millions of individuals, this measure of...
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A growth-mindset intervention teaches the belief that intellectual abilities can be developed. Where does the intervention work best? Prior research examined school-level moderators using data from the National Study of Learning Mindsets (NSLM), which delivered a short growth-mindset intervention during the first year of high school. In the present...
Article
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Is exposing students to role models an effective tool for diversifying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)? So far, the evidence for this claim is mixed. Here, we set out to identify systematic sources of variability in STEM role models' effects on student motivation: If we determine which role models are effective for which st...
Article
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School underachievement is a persistent problem in the United States. Direct-to-student, computer-delivered growth mindset interventions have shown promise as a way to improve achievement for those at risk of failing in school; however, these interventions only benefit students who happen to be in classrooms that support growth mindset beliefs. Her...
Article
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Language can be used to express broad, unquantified generalizations about both categories (e.g., “Dogs bark”) and individuals (e.g., “Daisy barks”). Although these two classes of statements are commonly assumed to arise from the same linguistic phenomenon—genericity—the literature to date has not offered a direct experimental comparison of the cond...
Article
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Women are underrepresented in fields where success is believed to require brilliance, but the reasons for this pattern are poorly understood. We investigate perceptions of a “masculinity contest culture,” an organizational environment of ruthless competition, as a key mechanism whereby a perceived emphasis on brilliance discourages female participa...
Article
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People commonly think of the mind and the brain as distinct entities that interact, a view known as dualism. At the same time, the public widely acknowledges that science attributes all mental phenomena to the workings of a material brain, a view at odds with dualism. How do people reconcile these conflicting perspectives? We propose that people di...
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Globally, women are underrepresented in politics. We propose developmental psychology offers an important, yet underused, theoretical lens for understanding and counteracting the gender gap in political leadership. In making this proposal, we harness insight from research on women’s underrepresentation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathem...
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Gender inequities in politics persist around the world. Research in political science and social psychology underscores how gender gaps in politics are fueled by societal messages that politics is a masculine domain. Developmental psychology offers a complementary, yet underappreciated, perspective on how gender inequities in politics are created a...
Article
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Close your eyes and think of a young person in your life who has a lot of intellectual potential but hasn't lived up to it because of a lackluster work ethic. Now, think of another young person who maybe isn't as gifted but has accomplished a lot because of sheer determination. Got them picked out? If I were to guess, I'd say you probably came up w...
Article
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Classroom settings bring to light many differences between children—differences that children notice and attempt to explain. Here, we advance theory on the psychological processes underlying how children explain the differences they observe in the classroom. Integrating evidence from cognitive, social, cultural, developmental, and educational psych...
Preprint
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Academic fields exhibit substantial levels of gender segregation. To date, most attempts to explain this persistent global phenomenon have relied on limited cross-sections of data from specific countries, fields, or career stages. Here we used a global longitudinal dataset assembled from profiles on ORCID.org to investigate which characteristics of...
Article
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Understanding the development and structure of people’s concepts of national groups can contribute to an understanding of their behavior in the political arena, including perhaps the recent rise in nationalism and anti-immigrant sentiment. Here, we provide a developmental investigation of concepts of national groups in a sample of 5- to 8-year-old...
Preprint
A decrease in student motivation in the middle grades mathematics classroom is cause for concern, especially when trying to make the mathematics environment more inclusive for typically marginalized students. One way to increase student motivation and make classrooms more inclusive is by introducing students to role models - someone who is not only...
Article
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Women are underrepresented in careers where success is perceived to depend on high levels of intellectual ability (e.g., brilliance, genius), including those in science and technology. This phenomenon may be due in part to a gender-brilliance stereotype that portrays men as more brilliant than women. Here, we offer the first investigation of whethe...
Article
Full-text available
Classroom settings bring to light many differences between children—differences that children notice and attempt to explain. Here, we advance theory on the psychological processes underlying how children explain the differences they observe in the classroom. Integrating evidence from cognitive, social, cultural, developmental, and educational psych...
Article
To what extent are research results influenced by subjective decisions that scientists make as they design studies? Fifteen research teams independently designed studies to answer five original research questions related to moral judgments, negotiations, and implicit cognition. Participants from 2 separate large samples (total N > 15,000) were then...
Article
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To what extent are research results influenced by subjective decisions that scientists make as they design studies? Fifteen research teams independently designed studies to answer five original research questions related to moral judgments, negotiations, and implicit cognition. Participants from two separate large samples (total N > 15,000) were th...
Article
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The common stereotype that brilliance is a male trait is an obstacle to women’s success in many prestigious careers. This gender-brilliance stereotype is powerful in part because it seems to be acquired early in life and might thus shape girls’ career aspirations. To date, however, research on this stereotype has not considered how its acquisition...
Chapter
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Evaluative feedback (praise and criticism) has a powerful influence on behavior, in part because it communicates what society values in and expects of an individual. Importantly, feedback often reflects values and expectations that are informed by the social group of the individual receiving feedback, and the stereotypes attached to it, rather than...
Article
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How do children reason about academic performance across development? A classic view suggests children’s intuitive theories in this domain undergo qualitative changes. According to this view, older children and adults consider both effort and skill as sources of performance (i.e., a “performance = effort + skill” theory), but younger children can o...
Article
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Many students find math difficult, but those who are intrinsically motivated learn and do well even when they face obstacles. Here, we examine an environmental factor that might affect students' intrinsic motivation in math: namely, teachers' beliefs about success in math. Do teachers perceive elementary school math as a domain that requires an inn...
Article
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What aspects of a person determine whether they are the same person they were in the past? This is one of the fundamental questions of research on personal identity. To date, this literature has focused on identifying the psychological states (e.g., moral beliefs, memories) that people rely on when making identity judgments. But the notion of perso...
Article
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Why do many people come to believe that they and others have a true self? We hypothesized that this belief emerges because people routinely rely on essentialist reasoning to understand personal identity and the self. Across eight studies, we found that (1) the features that participants attributed to the true self resembled the features typically a...
Article
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Concepts of national groups (e.g., Americans, Canadians) are an important source of identity and meaning in people’s lives. Here, we provide a developmental investigation of these concepts. Across three studies involving 5- to 8-year-olds and adults in the United States, we found that (1) compared to older children and adults, young children were m...
Article
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Formal explanations (e.g., “Mittens has whiskers because she’s a cat”) pose an intriguing puzzle in human cognition: they seem like little more than tautologies, yet they are surprisingly commonplace and natural-sounding. To resolve this puzzle, we hypothesized that formal explanations constitute an implicit appeal to a category’s inherent features...
Article
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Describing behaviors as reflecting categories (e.g., asking children to “be helpers”) has been found to increase pro-social behavior. The present studies (N = 139, ages 4-5) tested whether such effects backfire if children experience setbacks while performing category-relevant actions. In Study 1, children were asked either to “be helpers” or “to h...
Article
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The assumption that natural and social categories have deeper “essences” is a fundamental feature of the conceptual system, with wide-ranging consequences for behavior. What are the developmental origins of this assumption? We propose that essentialism emerges in part from a bias in the process of generating explanations that leads reasoners to ove...
Article
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Despite having the raw ability to pursue careers in science and engineering, gifted girls often shy away from such careers. Here, we explore two explanations for this puzzling phenomenon. Specifically, we argue that exposure to (1) negative stereotypes about women’s intellectual abilities and (2) stereotypes about scientists as “nerdy,” eccentric l...
Preprint
Describing behaviors as reflecting categories (e.g., asking children to “be helpers”) has been found to increase pro-social behavior. The present studies (N = 139, ages 4-5) tested whether such effects backfire if children experience setbacks while performing category-relevant actions. In Study 1, children were asked either to “be helpers” or “to h...
Article
Full-text available
A common misconception about math is that it requires raw intellectual talent or "brilliance." Only students who possess this sort of brilliance are assumed to be capable of success in math-related subjects. This harmful myth has far-reaching consequences for the success of girls and children from ethnic-minority backgrounds in these subjects. Beca...
Chapter
To investigate the nature and limits of knowledge, epistemologists often consult intuitions about whether people can be said to have knowledge or, alternatively, to know particular propositions. This chapter identifies a problem with this method. Although the intuitions elicited via statements about “knowledge” and “knowing” are treated as intercha...
Article
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Pervasive cultural stereotypes associate brilliance with men, not women. Given these stereotypes, messages suggesting that a career requires brilliance may undermine women’s interest. Consistent with this hypothesis, linking success to brilliance lowered women’s (but not men’s) interest in a range of educational and professional opportunities intro...
Preprint
Eight studies (N = 2,974) were conducted to test the hypothesis that the widespread folk belief in the "true self" is an instance of psychological essentialism. Results supported this hypothesis. Specifically, participants’ reasoning about the true self displayed the telltale features of essentialist reasoning (immutability, discreteness, consisten...
Article
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How a misplaced emphasis on genius subtly discourages women and African-Americans from certain academic fields
Preprint
Despite having the raw ability to pursue careers in science and engineering, gifted girls often shy away from such careers. Here, we explore two explanations for this puzzling phenomenon. Specifically, we argue that exposure to (1) negative stereotypes about women’s intellectual abilities and (2) stereotypes about scientists as “nerdy,” eccentric l...
Article
Full-text available
People understand the world by constructing explanations for what they observe. It is thus important to identify the cognitive processes underlying these judgments. According to a recent proposal, everyday explanations are often constructed heuristically: Because people need to generate explanations on a moment-by-moment basis, they cannot perform...
Preprint
People understand the world by constructing explanations for what they observe. It is thus important to identify the cognitive processes underlying these judgments. According to a recent proposal, everyday explanations are often constructed heuristically: Because people need to generate explanations on a moment-by-moment basis, they cannot perform...
Article
Full-text available
There is debate about the abstractness of young children’s self-concepts—specifically, whether they include representations of (1) general traits and abilities and (2) the global self. Four studies (N = 176 children aged 4–7) suggested these representations are indeed part of early self-concepts. Studies 1 and 2 re-examined prior evidence that youn...
Article
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In his 2012 book, Jussim suggests that people's beliefs about various groups (i.e., their stereotypes) are largely accurate. We unpack this claim using the distinction between generic and statistical beliefs – a distinction supported by extensive evidence in cognitive psychology, linguistics, and philosophy. Regardless of whether one understands st...
Article
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We tested the hypothesis that political attitudes are influenced by an information-processing factor—namely, a bias in the content of everyday explanations. Because many societal phenomena are enormously complex, people’s understanding of them often relies on heuristic shortcuts. For instance, when generating explanations for such phenomena (e.g.,...
Chapter
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Intuitions are a heterogeneous class of mental entities that have one feature in common: They are easily generated or accessed, as well as manipulated, during cognitive activity. Intuitions can be beliefs, judgments, decisions, explanations, inferences, goals, associations, and so on — any of these various mental entities qualify as intuitions as l...
Article
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Common stereotypes associate high-level intellectual ability (brilliance, genius, etc.) with men more than women. These stereotypes discourage women’s pursuit of many prestigious careers; that is, women are underrepresented in fields whose members cherish brilliance (such as physics and philosophy). Here we show that these stereotypes are endorsed...
Chapter
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Young children’s reasoning about competence and achievement often seems out of step with reality. For instance, after failing to solve four puzzles in a row, most 3- and 4-year-olds are nevertheless “very sure” that they will be able to solve a similar fifth puzzle (Parsons & Ruble, 1977). Along the same lines, after getting only about 15 points ou...
Article
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Epistemology is a central topic in philosophy concerned with the nature and limits of knowledge. To investigate this topic, epistemologists often consult linguistic intuitions about whether people can be said to have knowledge or, alternatively, to know particular propositions under various circumstances. Here, we identify a problem with this commo...
Article
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We present the data from a crowdsourced project seeking to replicate findings in independent laboratories before (rather than after) they are published. In this Pre-Publication Independent Replication (PPIR) initiative, 25 research groups attempted to replicate 10 moral judgment effects from a single laboratory’s research pipeline of unpublished fi...
Article
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Psychological essentialism is a pervasive conceptual bias to view categories as reflecting something deep, stable, and informative about their members. Scholars from diverse disciplines have long theorized that psychological essentialism has negative ramifications for inter-group relations, yet little previous empirical work has experimentally test...
Article
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American youth are more prone to storm and stress during adolescence than are Chinese youth (e.g., American youth’s engagement in school declines more). However, it is unclear why. This research examined differences in conceptions of adolescence in the United States and China. Using both open- and closed-ended measures, youth (N = 397; 50 % female;...
Article
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Generic statements (e.g., “Birds lay eggs”) express generalizations about categories. Current theories suggest that people should be especially inclined to accept generics that involve threatening information. However, previous tests of this claim have focused on generics about non-human categories, which raises the question of whether this effect...
Article
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The ability to carve the world into broad categories (e.g., DOG) made up of distinct individuals (e.g., Lassie and Toto) is essential for adaptive behavior and has been the focus of extensive research in cognitive and developmental psychology. Classic work on the development of category representations has revealed that they emerge early: Even infa...
Article
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People tend to judge what is typical to be also good and appropriate—what one ought to do. What accounts for the prevalence of these judgments, given that their validity is at best uncertain (Hume, 1740/2000)? We hypothesized that the tendency to reason from is to ought is due in part to a systematic bias in people’s (nonmoral) explanations, whereb...
Article
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Women and African Americans—groups targeted by negative stereotypes about their intellectual abilities—may be underrepresented in careers that prize brilliance and genius. A recent nationwide survey of academics provided initial support for this possibility. Fields whose practitioners believed that natural talent is crucial for success had fewer fe...