Important Studies for Gender

Here are the key studies that you need to know for Gender.

HideShow resource information

Furnham and Farragher 2000

Female and Male researcher

Aim- To demonstrate the sex-role stereotypes are used as part of British TV advertising
Method- Content Analysis- Took a months sample of TV ads in the UK and analysed the sex of the key figure in the ads. They looked at the location and the role of the key figure, the type of product, use of humour and sex of voice over.
Results- Men were more likely to be presented in autonomous role e.g. professionals in workplace settings, whereas the women were more likely to presented in a domestic locations as a housewife. Women were more likely to sell a household product e.g. polish whereas a man was more likely to motoring products. 70% of the voice-overs were men and were more humourous.
Conclusion- These findings represent typical stereotypes that society has about males and females. As men are not seen to take on domestic roles and women aren't seen as taking on masculine roles. Few women has a voice-over part indicates women have less power and less authority
Evaluations- The findings are open to interpretations and the viewers won't percieve the ads in the same way as a researcher.

1 of 10

Fagot 1978

Aim- To investigate the effect of parental behaviour upon gender role development

Method-2 researchers observed 24 different families in their homes. Half of the families had young sons and half had young daughters. Each set of parents were only observed on 5 separate 1 hour periods.

Results-Parents reacted more favourably to their child when he or she engaged in gender-appropriate behaviour.

Conclusion- Parents reinforced certain behaviours through socialisation by sex-role stereotyping their daughters and sons

Evaluation- Parents knew they were being watched so could have acted differently, so the findings may not be valid reflection of what would happen at home. Temporal validity could be a problem as this was done in the 1970s, parents may allow their child to behave more masculine or feminine.

2 of 10

Diamond and Sigmundson 1997

Aim- To investigate the role of biology in the development in gender roles.
Method- Reviewed a case of an 8 month old baby who lost his penis in a routine circumcision operation in the 1960s. On the recommendation of a psychologist called Money, the boy's parents decided to reassign his gender. The boy had an operation to construct a vagina and become Brenda. She was socialised as a girl from then on.
Results- Brenda seemed to have adapted well to the female role by behaving in a feminine way. Money report that this had been a success. But when she reached puberty, she became to behave in a more masculine way and she felt different from the other girls. In her teens, she discovered she was actually a boy and then began her life as a man called David and eventually got a penis reconctructed.
Conclusion- The effects of nature outweighed attempts to nurture this male into the feminine gender role
Evaluation- This is a case study therefore is unabled to be generalised. Brenda also had close proximity with her brother so she was surrounded by masculine toys and behaviour which could have influenced the way she behaved. The boy's gender had not been changed until he was nearly 2 and so could have started to develop a masculine gender identity, results may have been different, if he was raised as a girl from birth.

3 of 10

Van Goozen 1995

Aim- To investigate the effects of sex hormones on adult behaviour.

Method- They used the experimental method to study transsexuals of both sexes who were undergoing hormone treatment, that is were being injected hormones of the opposite sex. They were being given a range of tests to complete before treatment and then 3 months later.

Results- Male- to- females transsexuals show decrease in aggression and visual-spatial skills but increases in verbal fluency. Female-to-male showed the opposite.

Conclusion- This suggests that sex hormones do affect gender-related behaviour

Evaluation- This is not a controlled experiment so the changes may have been due to other uncontrolled variables such as the transsexuals' own expectations.

4 of 10

Smith and Lloyd 1978- SLT

Aim- To investigate whether mothers acted differently towards a baby depending on the perceived sex of that baby.
Method- An experiment was carried out using 32 mother who were told the study was investigating play. There were video-taped playing with 6 months babies. Sex-typed and sex-neutral toys were available for play. A male baby was dressed a female and another dressed as a male. A female was dressed as a female and another as a male.
Results- Babies perceived to be boys received more encouragement to play actively. Only babies perceived to be girls were offered dolls initially and only babies perceived to be boys were offered hammers initially.
Conclusion- Mothers were involved in the process of differential treatment of boys and girls. It was suggested that boys learn that they should be strong and athletic through sex-typed play. Type of play was dictated by the child as boys and girls appeared content to play masculine and feminine ways of depending on what sex they were perceived as being.
Evaluation- Temporal validity as mothers may not show the same level of stereotyping in today's society 

5 of 10

Marcus and Overton 1978- Cognitive

Aim- To show that as children get older they develop gender contancy
Method- There were three groups of children aged between 5-6, 6-7, 7-8 years old. The children were shown a changeable puzzle with a female and male character on it. It was possible to change the hair style and clothes, so they looked like the opposite sex. The same thing was done with a puzzle where photographs of the children's faces were superimposed onto the character's bodies. The researchers tried out different combinations of the puzzles with the children. Each time they asked the childern what sex they thought the character was. When photographs of the actual children were used then they were asked whether their own sex had changed. 
Results- Younger children tended to demonstrate gener constancy of their own sex. However younger children's appearances changed. Older children showed high levels of gender constancy when both of theor own and the characters' appearances had change.
Conclusion- The findings showed that young children, just moving into the gender constancy stage, only saw their own sex as stable under change. However the older children had fully developed gender constancy as they understood sex always stayed the same.
Evaluation- Like many experiments, this one used an artifical task which may have little bearing in real life.  

6 of 10

Martin and Halverson 1983 - Cognitive

Aim- To demostrate that children do distort inconsistent information to fit their gender schemas
Method- Using the experiemental method, the researchers showed five and six year old children pictures of people carrying out activities. Sometimes these activities were schema-consistent and sometimes they were schema inconsistent.
Results- Children's recall of the pictuers were tested a week later. Findings showed that recall for schema-inconsistent pictures was generally good. However when schema-inconsistent pictures were recalled they were often distorted so that the expected sex was remembered as carrying out the activity.
Conclusion- Chilren do use schemas to help them to make sense of their world. They will sometimes use schemas to recognise information so that it is consistent with their view gender even if it's not accurate.
Evaluation- As means of control, children's understanding of gender was measured quite precisely. However this may not be a valid measure of a complex phenomenon.  

7 of 10

Bem 1974

Aim- To construct an inventory to measure masculinity, femininity and androgyny.
Method- 50 males and 50 females judges rated 200 traits for how desirable they were for men and women. Based on judges' ratings, 20 traits were chosen for a masculinity scale and 20 for a femininity scale. Feminine traits included compassion, sympathy, warmth, shyness and gullibility. Masculine traits included aggression, ambitition, athleticism, being analytical and self-sufficiency. These traits were then used on the Bem Sex role inventory where people had to rate themselves between 1 and 7 on each trait.
Results- When the BSRI was tested on over 1000 students it showed itself to be valid when checked against the sample's own description of their gender identity. A smaller sample of students were tested again a month later and got similar scores indicating the inventory was reliable.
Conclusion- Having established the BSRI was reliable and valid. Bem found that some people do score highly on masculine and feminine traits. Men normally scored higher on the masculine traits and females scored higher on the feminine traits. However many people were more androgynous than at the exetremes and these people tend to be psychologically healthier. A small number of people scored low on both traits and were described as 'undifferentiated'
Evaluation- Respondents may lie or exaggerate to give socially desriable answers. Some respondents may not have known the meaning of all the words so, they had to guess what it meant which could have affected the results.  

8 of 10

Buss 1994

Aim- To investigate the hetrosexual mate prefences of men and women. 
Method- The survey was carried out in 37 different countries across all continents. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of wide range traits in a potential mate.
Results- Men in all of the countries surveyed rated good looks, youth and chastity higher than women did.  Women rated good financial prospects, industriousness and dependability higher than men did. 
Conclusion- This supported the evolutionary theory that women and men instinctively seek out different traits in potential mates. For men good looks and youth is an indicators of a women's health and fertility and of her ability to carry and care for a baby. For women a man who has good financial prospects and is industrious should be able to provide well for them. Dependability is also important as it would suggest a man who will stay around during pregnancy and after the baby is born.
Evaluation- This survery used a questionnaire which means the questions were pre-set. This means that respondents were not able to offer other traits that they may have regarded as important besides the ones that buss had listed. 

9 of 10

Mead 1935

Aim- To investigate the similarities and differences across gender roles in different cultures. 
Method- Mead carried out a detailed ethnographic study by living with various tribes in New Guinea for 6 months.
Results- In the Arapesh tribe, both sexes were feminine. Both parents were said to bear a child. In the Mundugarmor tribe, both sexes were masculine. Both parents detested child care so much that sleeping babies were hung in dark places. In the Tchambuli tribe, gender roles were revered compared to the western society. Females were independent and took care of trading whilst the men sat in groups, gossiping and grooming themselves. It was the males who were considered sentimental and were uncapable of making any decisions.
Conclusion- Gender roles depend on culture. In most societies women are seen as the carers and the men as the breadwinner, but this is not the cases around the world. Mead showed there were exceptions to the rules. Gender-related behaviours are not universal suggesting that they are not determined by nature. 
Evaluation- Mead carried out a very detailed observation of the tribes she lived with but in doing so she may have become too involved. For this reason, her findings are sometime criticised for being too subjective.  

10 of 10


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Gender resources »