W&J Psychology Professor, Hannah Bradshaw, Ph.D., looks to her class while delivering a presentation.

W&J Psychology Professor Uses Research to Enhance the Student Experience

Created: June 3, 2022  |  Last Updated: June 9, 2022  |  Category:   |  Tagged: , , , ,

WASHINGTON, PA (June 3, 2022) – Hannah K. Bradshaw, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at Washington & Jefferson College, is using her recent research to benefit her students.

As an evolutionary psychologist, Bradshaw focuses her research on social cognition, and more specifically, the relationship dynamics among women and between women and men.

“My research is inspired by things that I observe in my own life,” Bradshaw said. “I’ve heard a lot of women say they prefer to have male rather than female friends, and there isn’t much research on how these friendship preferences influence women’s perceptions of other women.”

Her research found that women who prefer male friends tend to not have a good relationship with other women and are viewed as less trustworthy by other women.

Bradshaw also recently appeared on a podcast called “The Dissenter,” during which she discussed her research on feminine beauty ideals, including how varying levels of attractiveness influence the way women are treated.

While Bradshaw’s research expands her field knowledge, her students see the greatest benefit.

“I incorporate much of my research, especially the research on women and feminine beauty ideals, into my evolutionary psychology courses,” Bradshaw said. “Psychology is a science that is research-focused, so we have to talk about the research that supports each of the theories.”

Bradshaw has also directly worked with her students on various research projects, including Julia Hurwitz ‘23.

Hurwitz worked with Bradshaw to design a follow-up research project to see if gender expression (i.e., masculinity and femininity) influenced women’s judgments of other women who prefer male or female friends.

Hurwitz then presented her research at the Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society Conference during the 2022 spring semester.

Bradshaw’s research experiences with her students speaks to the highly customized and intellectually engaging education that enriches the student experience at W&J.


About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.