Temporal Distance and Discrimination: An Audit Study in Academia
Coauthor(s): Katherine Milkman, Dolly Chugh.
Through a field experiment set in academia (with a sample of 6,548 professors), we found that decisions about distant-future
events were more likely to generate discrimination against women and minorities (relative to Caucasian males) than
were decisions about near-future events. In our study, faculty members received e-mails from fictional prospective doctoral
students seeking to schedule a meeting either that day or in 1 week; students' names signaled their race (Caucasian, African
American, Hispanic, Indian, or Chinese) and gender. When the requests were to meet in 1 week, Caucasian males were
granted access to faculty members 26% more often than were women and minorities; also, compared with women and
minorities, Caucasian males received more and faster responses. However, these patterns were essentially eliminated when
prospective students requested a meeting that same day. Our identification of a temporal discrimination effect is consistent
with the predictions of construal-level theory and implies that subtle contextual shifts can alter patterns of race- and gender-based
Source: Psychological Science
Milkman, Katherine, Modupe Akinola, and Dolly Chugh. "Temporal Distance and Discrimination: An Audit Study in Academia." Psychological Science 23, no. 7 (July 2012): 710-717.