Notice of Online Archive

  • This page is no longer being updated and remains online for informational and historical purposes only. The information is accurate as of the last page update.

    For questions about page contents, contact the Communications Division.

Psychology major Kim Rubenfeld ’03 (Somerset, N.J) will present findings from an independent research project on “gender communication” Saturday at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference in Boston.

“I’m looking forward to going,” says Rubenfeld. “It will be a wonderful experience to learn about the other research projects there. I could find someone who also is doing gender-related research, or who knows — I might find someone whom I want to go to grad school with. It should be a lot of fun to be around people who love psychology.”

Rubenfeld conducted her study for a fall semester Advanced Research class under the supervision of Susan Basow, Dana Professor of Psychology. She received about 170 responses from students to a gender role survey that determined the degree to which their gender traits are “androgynous,” “undifferentiated,” “masculine,” or “feminine.” The next step was seeing whether communication differed according to these tendencies.

“Many of the things that I found had never been theorized before,” says Rubenfeld. “We found that ‘androgynous’ people communicated differently than ‘differentiated’ people. For example, one group communicated much more emotionally, or got angry at a response that another found comforting.”

Rubenfeld suspects that differences in how men and women say and hear things cause conflicts in marriages. “I firmly believe that socialization plays a key role in who we are and how we perceive the world, and there is no greater difference in socialization within a culture than gender,” she says.

Rubenfeld hopes to use what she gained from the experience as a therapist as well as a researcher. “I want to learn more about differences in the ways males and females communicate and help fix these problems,” she adds.

Basow describes Rubenfeld as hard working, motivated, and committed to research in psychology. “She is taking advantage of the many opportunities Lafayette offers to develop her knowledge and skills, including advanced research,” says Basow.

A graduate of East Brunswick High School, Rubenfeld is president of both the Psychology Club and Psi Chi, the national psychology honor society, and serves as a psychology lab assistant. She is a member of Association for Lafayette Women, QUEST (QUestioning Established Sexual Taboos), and the newly formed Students for Social Justice.

She coordinates the Adopt-A-Grandparent program for Lafayette’s Landis Community Outreach Center. Rubenfeld served on the 2001-2002 Family Weekend Planning Committee, has helped organize blood drives and a walk for charity, and is former president of the Keefe Volunteer Floor. Last summer, she worked as a residential counselor for mentally ill and chemically addicted teens at Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead. She has volunteered with the Outreach Center’s Kids in the Community program and served as community affairs chair for student government.

Categorized in: Academic News