Bem 's study (1974)




  • Find out whether people have a combination of masculine and femanine traits within their personality.
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Method: Part 1

  • 100 participants (50 male and 50 female) asked to rate a list of 200 personality trait words in relation to how desirable they were for en and women. (This was to create gender stereotypes).
  • From the list, 20 words were chosen which were seen to be desirable for women. The same was done for words rated desirable for men and a further 20 neutral traits were also selected.
  • These 60 items made up Bem's Sex Role Inventory (BSRI).
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Method: Part 2

  • Students were asked to rate themselves on each of the 60 traits on a scale of 1-7, with 1 being almost never true of me, and 7 being almost always true of me.
  • This produced a score out of 20 for each sub-scale (masculinity, femininity and neutrality), allowing Bem to divide people into one of four gender types...
  • Masculine (sextyped) - high masculinity scores, low femininity scores.
  • Femanine (sextyped) - high femininity scores, low masculinity scores.
  • Androgynous - high scores on both masculinity and femininity.
  • Undifferentiated - low scores on both masculinity and femininity.
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  • People combine aspects of masculinity and femininity within their personalities.
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Evaluation: Methodological issues

  •  Use of students as raters may have produced bias in the scale  -  students may have more equal views about gender than the general population.
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Evaluation: Ethical issues

  • Use of scale needs informed consent of participants. This may be difficult to control as published scales may appear on the internet for self-completion.
  • Participants may need to be debriefed - again difficult to control for same reason as above.
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