Outline and Evaluate gender bias in psychology

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  • Outline and evaluate gender bias in psychology
    • Occurs when gender differences are ignored or exaggerated.
      • It is an unfair representation of genders in research
    • Two forms
      • Alpha bias
        • the tendency to exaggerate differences, enhances or udnervalues members of a sex
          • e.g Freud's oedipus complex, women as morally inferior because they cannot experience castration anxiety and suffe from penis envy
      • Beta bias
        • minimises gender differences, assumes what is true for men is also true for women,
        • e.g fight or flight response, studied in male animals and assumed to be the same. Taylor et al found females develop a tend and befriend  response
    • Evaluation
      • Provides scientific justification to deny women opportunities. Lack of senior female researchers means womens concerns have been neglected
        • May lead to inaccurate assumptions of women in research that has reinforced negative female stereotypes. Supported by Tarvis, normal for females to feel abnormal
          • Problem because gender biased research may have damaging effects on the lives and prospects of women
            • on the contrary, some researchers have emphasised the value of women in their research. e.g Cornwell found women are better at learning because they are attentive, flexible and organised
      • Research methods used (controlled lab experiments) can lead to an inaccurate portrayal of the real life experiences of women
        • Eagly and Johnson found that in lab settings, men were judged as more effective leaders whereas in naturalistic settings, men and women were judged similarly for leadership
          • problem because it suggests that the techniques used can lead to alpha bias
            • Feminist psychologsist have suggested that we study women in real life contexts and genuinely participate in research rather than being objects of research. There should be greater emphasis on qualitiative research. Shows that there are ways to reduce it
      • Fem psychs argue that gender bias can be a result from sociall constructs. They agree that there are biological differences but social stereotypes are more influential.
        • if boys and girls grow up seeing more males in senior roles, men are more likely to be perceived as better leaders and girls lacking this skill.
          • this is a problem because a social stereotypes are presented as genuine gender differences that could be changed by social inequality
            • many female psychologists in the field can be seen as inspirations for young girls to pursue a scientific career. e.g Maguire is considered to be extremely influential in the field, showing that there has been a start in tackling girls not eligible for scientific career prospects.
              • This is further supported through education programmes such as Girls into Science and Technology (GIST), with an increase in female senior roles there will be a larger portrayal of women in psychology, and so a reduction in gender bias


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