Nilanjana Dasgupta

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Nilanjana 'Buju' Dasgupta
Alma materSmith College
Yale University
AwardsApplication of Personality and Social Psychology Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology
Chancellor's medal from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Scientific career
Fieldssocial psychology
ThesisPigments of the imagination : the role of perceived skin color in stereotype maintenance and exacerbation (1998)
WebsiteResearch website

Nilanjana Dasgupta is a social psychologist whose work focuses on the effects of social contexts on implicit stereotypes - particularly on factors that insulate women in STEM fields from harmful stereotypes which suggest that females perform poorly in such areas. Dasgupta is a Professor of Psychology and is the Director of the Institute of Diversity Sciences and the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Prior to joining the Psychology faculty at the University of Massachusetts in 2003,[2] Dasgupta (b. 1969) received an A.B. from Smith College in 1992 in Psychology with a minor in Neuroscience.[2] In 1998, she received a PhD in Psychology from Yale University.[2] Dasgupta then became a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington, Seattle and, afterward, an Assistant Professor at the New School for Social Research from 1999-2002.[2]

At the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Dasgupta has served in several leadership roles and earned awards for her service to the university. In 2005-2006 Dasgupta was A Lilly Teaching fellow[3] and 2006-7 she was a Family Research Scholar[4] at UMass Amherst. From 2014-2020 she served as the Director of Faculty Equity and Inclusion in the College of Natural Sciences at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.[5] Dasgupta is co-PI of an NSF Advance program that seeks to transforms the campus by cultivating faculty equity, inclusion and success at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[6] In 2019 Dasgupta was recognized by the College of Natural Sciences at UMass Amherst for Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion.[7]

Dasgupta has held several leadership positions in national and international professional societies. She is serving on the National Science Foundation's Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (2015–17).[8] She is an elected member of the executive committee of the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, and was elected to be President of the society in 2017.[9] Dr. Dasgupta serves on the Training Committee of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology,[10] and on the steering committee of the International Social Cognition Network.[11] Dasgupta was an elected member of the council of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (2012–14).[12]


Dasgupta proposed the Stereotype Inoculation Model [13] which explains how, for women in STEM fields, experts [14] and peers [15][16][17] from one's own group in a working or learning environment can help individuals become more successful despite the pervasiveness of stereotypes casting doubt upon their ability.[18][19]

Dasgupta has also conducted research on situational influences on unconscious stereotyping and prejudice. One project, a collaboration with David Desteno, indicates that anger, but not sadness tends to increase bias against people in different social groups than their own [20][21][22] and that feeling a specific emotion can make people more biased against groups whose stereotypes are associated with that emotion.[23] Dasgupta and her colleagues have also found that being exposed to counterstereotypic [24] or well-liked [25] members of groups like African-Americans or women can reduce unconscious bias against those groups on the Implicit Association Task. She theorized that four things influence stereotypes and prejudice, and should be taken into account when trying to change implicit biases: 1) self- and social-motives, 2) specific strategies, 3) the perceiver's focus of attention, and 4) configuration of stimulus cues.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2009 Dasgupta was elected to the fellowships of both the Association for Psychological Science. and the Society of Experimental Social Psychology. In 2011, Dasgupta and her collaborators received a Smashing Bias Research Prize awarded by the Mitchell Kapor Foundation and Level Playing Field Institute[26] She also received the Morton Deutsch Award from the International Society for Justice Research.[27] In 2016 Dasgupta received the Application of Personality and Social Psychology Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology.[28] In 2017 Dasgupta received Chancellor’s Award for Outstanding Accomplishments in Research & Creative Activity; this is the highest recognition bestowed to faculty by the University of Massachusetts Amherst.[29] As part of that award she delivered a Distinguished Faculty Lecture on “STEMing the Tide: How Female Professors and Peers Can Encourage Young Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics".[29]


  1. ^ "Institute of Diversity Sciences : UMass Amherst". Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  2. ^ a b c d Dasgupta, Nilanjana. "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Nilanjana Dasgupta's Home Page. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Past Fellows from 1986 - Present | Center for Teaching & Learning | UMass Amherst". Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  4. ^ "Current and Past Family Research Scholars | Center for Research on Families | UMass Amherst". Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  5. ^ "Dasgupta Leading Faculty Equity and Inclusion Efforts in CNS". UMass Amherst News and Media Relations. University of Massachusetts - Amherst. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  6. ^ "Home | ADVANCE Program". Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  7. ^ "Faculty & Staff Honors". 2016-03-08. Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  8. ^ "SBE Advisory Committee Members". National Science Foundation. National Science Foundation Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  9. ^ "SESP Officers and Committees". SESP. Society for Experimental Social Psychology. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  10. ^ "SPSP Training Committee". Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  11. ^ "ISCON Steering Committee". International Social Cognition Network. International Social Cognition Network.
  12. ^ "Nilanjana Dasgupta". Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  13. ^ Dasgupta, Nilanjana (2011). "Ingroup Experts and Peers as Social Vaccines Who Inoculate the Self-Concept: The Stereotype Inoculation Model". Psychological Inquiry. 22 (4): 231–246. doi:10.1080/1047840X.2011.607313. S2CID 144558529.
  14. ^ Stout, Jane G.; Dasgupta, Nilanjana; Hunsinger, Matthew; McManus, Melissa A. (2011). "STEMing the tide: using ingroup experts to inoculate women's self-concept in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 100 (2): 255–270. doi:10.1037/a0021385. PMID 21142376.
  15. ^ Dasgupta, Nilanjana; Sciricle, Melissa McManus; Hunsinger, Matthew (2015). "Female peers in small work groups enhance women's motivation, verbal participation, and career aspirations in engineering". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 112 (16): 4988–4993. doi:10.1073/pnas.1422822112. PMC 4413283. PMID 25848061.
  16. ^ Santhanam, Laura (April 6, 2015). "Want more women in science and math? Pay attention to group projects, study suggests". PBS Newshour Rundown. PBS. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  17. ^ Johnson, Carolyn Y. (7 April 2015). "UMass research adds wrinkle to finding gender gap solution". Boston Globe. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  18. ^ Dasgupta, Nilanjana; Stout, Jane G. (1 October 2014). "Girls and Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics: STEMing the Tide and Broadening Participation in STEM Careers". Policy Insights from the Behavioral and Brain Sciences. 1 (1): 21–29. doi:10.1177/2372732214549471.
  19. ^ Vedantam, Shanktar (March 2011). "Psych-Out Sexism". Slate. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  20. ^ Desteno, David; Dasgupta, Nilanjana; Bartlett, Monica Y.; Cajdric, Aida (2004). "Prejudice From Thin Air. The Effect of Emotion on Automatic Intergroup Attitudes". Psychological Science. 15 (5): 319–324. doi:10.1111/j.0956-7976.2004.00676.x. PMID 15102141. S2CID 666642.
  21. ^ Dye, Lee. "Study Shows Anger Can Create Prejudice". ABC News. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  22. ^ Wartik, Nancy (April 20, 2004). "Hard-Wired for Prejudice? Experts Examine Human Response to Outsiders". New York Times. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  23. ^ Dasgupta, Nilanjana; Desteno, David; Williams, Lisa A; Hunsinger, Matthew (2009). "Fanning the flames of prejudice: The influence of specific incidental emotions on implicit prejudice". Emotion. 9 (4): 585–591. doi:10.1037/a0015961. PMID 19653784.
  24. ^ Dasgupta, Nilanjana; Asgari, Shaki (2004). "Seeing is believing: Exposure to counterstereotypic women leaders and its effect on the malleability of automatic gender stereotyping". Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. 40 (5): 642–658. doi:10.1016/j.jesp.2004.02.003.
  25. ^ Dasgupta, Nilanjana; Greenwald, Anthony G. (November 2001). "On the malleability of automatic attitudes: combating automatic prejudice with images of admired and disliked individuals". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 81 (5): 800–14. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.81.5.800. PMID 11708558.
  26. ^ "Smashing Bias Research Prize". Level Playing Field Institute. Level Playing Field Institute. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  27. ^ "Morton Deutsch Award". International Society for Social Justice Research Homepage. International Society for Social Justice Research. Retrieved 19 May 2015.
  28. ^ "Application of Personality and Social Psychology Award | SPSP". Retrieved 2020-07-12.
  29. ^ a b "UMass Amherst Professor Nilanjana Dasgupta to Discuss Strategies for Encouraging Young Women to Pursue Careers in STEM Fields". Office of News & Media Relations | UMass Amherst. Retrieved 2020-07-12.