About the Project

Role-taking is an important part of selfhood and community social life. It is a skill that varies in patterned ways, including along lines of status and power. 

This research program began in 2012 when Dr. Love and Dr. Davis first began exploring individual variation in role-taking propensity and the ways in which it varies by gender and status. Laboratory experiments are utilized to isolate individual and social effects in order to determine along what social lines this seemingly individual ability is affected. The findings show that, although women appear to be more accurate role-takers than men, this apparent gender difference can be explained by relative status position.  In other words, status is more important than gender in explaining differences in role-taking propensity.  The next iteration of the above laboratory experiment focuses on the interrelations between status, race, and role-taking propensity.  

In 2018, the Australian National University awarded to Dr. Jenny Davis a prestigious Futures Scheme grant to run a four year experimental project on identity, status, and group processes. "The project includes the use of innovative experimental methods (including virtual reality) to investigate role-taking and its relationship with social hierarchies. While experimental sociology is a vibrant field in the US, it is new to Australian sociology. As well as supporting the research, the funding will enable Jenny to establish collaborations between ANU and prominent US sociologists working in this field. It will also provide two generous scholarships for PhD students to join the research team. The grant was awarded under the ANU Futures scheme which provides large start up grants to recent appointments at the university." source



We extend our sincere thanks to the National Science Foundation, the American Sociological Association, and the Australian National University for their generous funding of this scientific endeavor.