Gender Bias


Gender Bias

A gender bias is the differential treatment or representation of men and women based on sterotypes rather than real differences.

An example from psychology is Freud's Oedipus and Electra complex theories which states that men go through more trauma and so their superego is stronger than women. 

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Gender Differences

Men and women differ in many ways, including their bodily features and hormones, but psychologically there is little differences.

Macohy and Jaclin- did meta analysis of gender differences and found that girls are superior in verbal abilities and boys are superior in spatal abilities. 

According to Kitzinger (1998)- questions about gender differences have been used for a variety of reasons e,g. to keep women out of university.

It is often the case that gender differences are used for political reasons, as shown in Bowihy's research into the effects of seperation and maternal depvivation. He concluded that maternal leave is as important to the child as vitamins. 

Politicans used this to justify encouraging women to stay at home. 

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Alpha Bias

An alpha bias is the assumption that there are real differences between men and women.

This was shown by Koniberg who have participants moral dilemmas and analysed the responses. 

He found that women were less concerned with justice and more concerned with welfare. 

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Beta Bias

A beta bias minimises differences (and tends to favour men). 

Asch- investigated comformity using men and then assumed his results were a universal rule. 

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Evidence for Gender Stereotypes

Evidence for gender sterotypes...

William and Best- carried out a large scale survey of gender sterotypes in 30 cultures. They detected many similarities, but men were seen as being more dominant and aggressive while women were more nurturing and deferent. 

This favours a alpha bias and suggests a biological basis for gender sterotypes. 

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Evidence for Alpha Bias

Hoffman (1975)- assessed the tendency of children to do what they had been told not to do. 

There was no differences between the behaviour of boys and girls. 

When there was a difference it was girls who were better at resisting temptation. 

This suggests that Freud was wrong. 

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Evolutionary Explanations

There is a tendency to use evultionary explanations to explain why men are dominant over women, and why women have a greater paternal investment. 

Whilst it's argued that these explanations shouldn't be used, it does show a clear alpha bias. 

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Evidence for Beta Bias

Rosenthal (1966)- found that researchers who were more pleasant with female, rather than male, participants.

Also, in Gibson and Walk's study, it may be that the fathers reacted in the same way as the mothers, minimising the differences. 

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Eagly (1978)

Women were more conformist than men, but argued this was because women are more focused on interpersonal goals, and so only appear to be more conformist in experimental situations. 

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Androcentrism is the view that male behaviour is ''normal'' and female behaviour is ''different''.

So for example and original view would be that women have lower self-esteem than men, but a rephrased view is that men are more conceited than women. 

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Feminist psychology has highlighted the tendency to attribute difference to biological factors. 

This bias reflects society and discriminates women, therefore the problem is not just in research. 

The context of research influences how it's interpreted, for example Asch and Zimbardo were guilty of beta bias as they applied their results universally and ignored how gender may have biased the outcomes.

Much research may only be measuring male behaviour. 

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