Today I've been diving into one of my new projects, which is to create illustrations to accompany training materials for a course that is given to teaching assistants and professors in the sciences on stereotype threat, a term I hadn't heard of until recently. The idea is that students may underperform if they feel that instructors, advisors, or fellow students/labmates are stereotyping them, whether they are or they aren't. For example, I might worry that a potential client isn't taking me seriously because I am a woman, because I am small (which makes me seem younger than I am), or because my last name suggests that I might have just come from the pub. As the sketch above depicts, some fMRI studies suggest that there is actually an increase in blood flow from the portion of the brain responsible for logic and reasoning to the region associated with emotional response when subjects are under stereotype threat. From there it's pretty obvious to see why it might be harder to learn chemistry or make progress on their thesis projects. More on this soon.