Meredith Meyer

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The gender imbalance in STEM subjects dominates current debates about women's underrepresentation in academia. However, women are well represented at the Ph.D. level in some sciences and poorly represented in some humanities (e.g., in 2011, 54% of U.S. Ph.D.'s in molecular biology were women versus only 31% in philosophy). We hypothesize that, across the(More)
Human social, cognitive, and linguistic functioning depends on skills for rapidly processing action. Identifying distinct acts within the dynamic motion flow is one basic component of action processing; for example, skill at segmenting action is foundational to action categorization, verb learning, and comprehension of novel action sequences. Yet little is(More)
The current study addressed the degree to which maternal speech and action are synchronous in interactions with infants. English-speaking mothers demonstrated the function of two toys, stacking rings, and nesting cups to younger infants (6–9.5 months) and older infants (9.5–13 months). Action and speech units were identified, and speech units were coded as(More)
Recognizing where action units begin and end is an earlydeveloping skill that supports inferences about goals motivating others' action. One notable feature of goal-directed action is that segments are organized hierarchically. That is, action is interpreted as structured with respect to the goals and sub-goals of an actor, which can be recognized as(More)
Women's underrepresentation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields is a prominent concern in our society and many others. Closer inspection of this phenomenon reveals a more nuanced picture, however, with women achieving parity with men at the Ph.D. level in certain STEM fields, while also being underrepresented in some non-STEM(More)
Identification of distinct units within a continuous flow of human action is fundamental to action processing. Such segmentation may rest in part on statistical learning. In a series of four experiments, we examined what types of statistics people can use to segment a continuous stream involving many brief, goal-directed action elements. The results of(More)
Psychological essentialism is the belief that some internal, unseen essence or force determines the common outward appearances and behaviors of category members. We investigated whether reasoning about transplants of bodily elements showed evidence of essentialist thinking. Both Americans and Indians endorsed the possibility of transplants conferring(More)
We tested the hypothesis that generics (e.g., Dogs have four legs) are a cognitive default, thereby allowing faster and less effortful processing in comparison to quantified noun phrases (e.g., all dogs). Participants judged sentences containing either generics or universally-quantified noun phrases as true or false. Under time pressure, participants(More)
Psychological essentialism is a folk theory characterized by the belief that a causal internal essence or force gives rise to the common outward behaviors or attributes of a category's members. In two studies, we investigated whether 4- to 7-year-old children evidenced essentialist reasoning about heart transplants by asking them to predict whether trading(More)
In a series of experiments, we examined 3- to 8-year-old children's (N=223) and adults' (N=32) use of two properties of testimony to estimate a speaker's knowledge: generality and verifiability. Participants were presented with a "Generic speaker" who made a series of 4 general claims about "pangolins" (a novel animal kind), and a "Specific speaker" who(More)