Mariah Schug 260x300

Mariah G. Schug, PhD

  • Director, Gender, Women's and Sexuality Studies
  • Associate Professor
Media Expertise:
  • Gender & Sexuality
  • Psychology & Mental Health

Affiliated Programs


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Utah (2008)

  • MS, Anthropology, University of Utah (2003)

  • BA, Anthropology, University of Minnesota (1998)

About Me

I've had the opportunity to teach different subjects in various environments. I taught English in Japan, primatology in the rainforest of Costa Rica, and psychology at Cheshire Correctional Institute as part of a prison education program. Recently, my teaching has focused on areas in psychology including developmental, cross-cultural, and positive psychology. At Widener, I've been impressed by students' enthusiasm. I've enjoyed engaging my classes in debates on controversies in psychology.

Research Interests

 My research explores how culture and the environment influence cognition. Much of my work looks at how intergroup attitudes emerge in different contexts. For example, I’ve looked at the development of bias in childhood in the U.S. and the Faroe Islands. I’ve also studied Faroese attitudes about diversity (e.g., immigration, LGBTQ+ rights). My more recent studies consider how childhood experiences that promote exploration and interactions with nature, may lead to improvements in spatial skills and attention. Finally, I’m working with colleagues at Widener on a project assessing how infant feeding practices (e.g., bottle feeding) can influence familial relationships and well-being.

Media Expertise

  • Psychology
  • Anthropology
  • Gender


  • Schug, M.G., Barhorst-Cates, E., Stefanucci, J., Creem-Regehr, S., Olsen, A.P.L., and Cashdan, E., (2022). Childhood experience reduces gender differences in spatial abilities: A cross-cultural study. Cognitive Science, 46, e13096.
  • Barrett, H.C., Bolyanatz, A., Broesch, T., Cohen, E., Froerer, P., Kanovsky, M., Schug, M.G., & Laurence, S. (2021). Intuitive dualism and afterlife beliefs: A cross-cultural study. Cognitive Science, 45(6), e12992. 
  • Hayfield, E. A., & Schug, M. (2019). ‘It’s like they have a cognitive map of relations’: Feeling strange in a small island community. Journal of Intercultural Studies40(4), 383-398.

  • Schug, M.G. (2017). Equal children play best: Raising independent Faroese children in the Danish welfare state. In J. DeLoache & A. Gottlieb (Eds.) A World of Babies: Imagined Childcare Guides for Eight Societies. Cambridge University Press.

  • Schug, M.G. (2016). Factors in the development of spatial cognition in boys and girls: Assessing the impacts of biology and navigational experience. Boyhood Studies, 9(2), 44-55.

  • Schug, M.G. (2016). Geographical cues and developmental exposure: Navigational style,wayfinding anxiety, and childhood experience in the Faroe Islands. Human Nature, 27(1), 68-81.

  • Schug, M.G., Shusterman, A., Barth, H., & Patalano, A.L. (2015). Early group bias in the Faroe Islands: Cultural variation in children’s group-based reasoning. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 69(9), 1741-1751.

  • Schug, M.G. & Striano, T. (2014). Social foundations of communicative development. In L. Rogers, P. Brooks, and V. Kempe (Eds.) Encyclopedia of Language Development. Sage Publications: Thousand Oaks, CA.

  • MacDonald, K., Schug, M.G., & Barth, H. (2013). My people, right or wrong: Preschoolers trust inaccurate ingroup members over accurate outgroup members. Cognitive Development, 28(3), 247-259.

  • Schug, M.G., Shusterman, A., Barth, H. & Patalano, A.L. (2012). Cognition and the development of group bias: Minimal group membership influences children’s responses to novel experience with group members. Developmental Science, 16(1)47-55.

  • Cleveland, A., Schug, M., & Striano, T. (2007). Joint attention and object learning in 5- and 7-month-old infants. Infant and Child Development, 16, 295-306.

Professional Affiliations & Memberships

Cognitive Development Society (CDS), Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD)

In the Media