Rebecca Peretz-Lange


I am gay/queer and I am a psychology PhD candidate.//

I didn’t have any interest in science growing up — I never imagined myself in a labcoat or with test tubes. However, in college I discovered that science was a process, not an aesthetic, and that as a process it could be applied toward questions relevant to my own life as a queer woman. Today, my research investigates questions like: Why is it so hard for people to understand structural causes of social inequality? Why is it so hard for people to understand fluid identities (such as nonbinary, genderqueer, and sometimes trans* identities)? It turns out that the mind is “built” to see inequality is caused by biological, not structural, factors, and to see identity as fixed rather than fluid. We can actually use experimental methods to study people’s reasoning and intuitions, investigate how this reasoning develops, and design interventions through which it can be “unlearned.” It’s important to have LGBTQ diversity (as well as other forms of diversity!) in science so that these questions are opened up and explored by people who have personal, lived experience with them; science is improved when the toolbox of scientific thinking is made accessible to a broader audience.