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Gender bias in psychology Types of bias Bias in theory Bias in research www.psychlotron.org.uk.

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Presentation on theme: "Gender bias in psychology Types of bias Bias in theory Bias in research www.psychlotron.org.uk."— Presentation transcript:

1 Gender bias in psychology Types of bias Bias in theory Bias in research

2 Gender bias Range of consequences including: Scientifically misleading Upholding stereotypical assumptions Validating sex discrimination Avoiding gender bias does not mean pretending that men and women are the same

3 Gender bias Alpha bias Exaggerating the differences between men & women Beta bias Exaggerating the similarity between men & women Often happens when findings obtained from men and applied to women without additional validation

4 Gender bias Androcentrism Similar idea to ethnocentrism Taking male thinking/behaviour as normal, regarding female thinking/behaviour as deviant, inferior, abnormal, ‘other’ when it is different

5 Examples of gender bias Kohlberg & moral development Based stages of moral development around male moral reasoning Inappropriate generalisation to women (beta bias) Claimed women generally reached lower level of development (androcentrism)

6 Examples of gender bias Gilligan & moral development Highlighted bias inherent in Kohlberg’s work Suggested women make moral decisions in a different way to men (care ethic vs. justice ethic) Arguably also (alpha) biased, as M & F moral reasoning is more similar than her work suggests

7 Examples of gender bias Freud & psychosexual development ‘Biology is destiny’ – women’s roles are prescribed & predetermined ‘Penis envy’ – women are defined psychologically by the fact that they aren’t men

8 Examples of gender bias Consequences of Freud’s ideas: Reinforcing stereotypes e.g. of women’s moral inferiority Treating deviations from traditional sex-role behaviour as pathological (career ambition = penis envy) Androcentric (phallocentric)

9 Examples of gender bias Biomedical theories of abnormality Abnormal behaviour explained in terms of neurochemical/hormonal processes Higher prevalence of depression in women explained in hormonal terms, not social/environmental (e.g. violence, unpaid labour, discrimination) ‘Is it your hormones, love?’

10 Gender bias in research Institutional sexism Men predominate at senior researcher level Research agenda follows male concerns, female concerns may be marginalised or ignored

11 Gender bias in research Use of standardised procedures in research studies Women and men might respond differently to research situation Women and men might be treated differently by researchers Could create artificial differences or mask real ones

12 Gender bias in research Dissemination of research results Publishing bias towards positive results Research that finds gender differences more likely to get published than that which doesn’t Exaggerates extent of gender differences

13 Addressing gender bias Feminist perspective Re-examining the ‘facts’ about gender View of women as normal humans, not deficient men Scepticism towards biological determinism Research agenda focusing on womens’ concerns A psychology for women, rather than a psychology of women


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