November 12 2009
3:30pm - 5:00pm,
Geoff Cohen is a Professor in the School of Education at Stanford University. Dr Cohen received his Ph.D. from Stanford University. Prior to teaching at the University of Colorado, Dr. Cohen taught at Yale for many years. Dr. Cohen’s primary area of research links social (i.e., group) identity to a general account of motivation. It focuses on the experience of individuals operating in settings where their group is negatively stereotyped. This work begins with the premise that being targeted by a negative stereotype causes mistrust--one cannot assume the good will of other people in one's social environment, because they could be biased by the stereotype. Mistrust, in turn, worsens achievement, because the expectation of bias discourages motivation. Dr. Cohen finds that interventions that create trust (for example, by conveying to students from historically underrepresented groups that they will neither be judged nor treated stereotypically) improve motivation and performance, reducing and sometimes even eliminating race and gender based gaps in achievement.