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AQA Psychology - Issues and Debates > Gender Bias > Flashcards

Flashcards in Gender Bias Deck (23)
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What is the issue in psychology?

Refers to a source of conflict that if ignored could undermine the value of theories in research


What are the three main issues?

Gender bias

Culture bias

Ethical issues


What is the debate in psychology?

Academic argument that lasts over many years and often have no resolution

enables to gain a better understanding of any other potential factors involved


What are three main debates that have long history in psychology?

  • Free will and determinism
  • Nature vs nuture
  • Holism and reductionism
  • Idiographic and nomethic approaches to studying behaviour


Psychology seeks universality but bias may be inevitable

Psychologists possess beliefs and values influenced by scoial and historial contexts within which they live.

This may undermine psychologists' claims to discover facts about human behaviour that are objective, value-free and consistent across time and culture (universality)


What is gender bias?

  • Gender bias results when one gender is treated less favourably than the other, often referred to as sexism and as a result does not accurately represent either gender.
  • e.g , although female psychology students outnumber male, at a senior teaching and research level in universities, men dominate. This can lead to research focusing on male interests, with female concerns marginalised or ignored (androcentrism).



What is alpha bias?

Exaggerate difference

Difference between sexes are usually presented as real,enduring, fixed and inevitable

These differences occasionally heighten the value of the women but are more likely to devalue females in relation to male 


What is an example of alpha bias?

  • An Example of alpha bias can be seen with Freud’s psychodynamic approach in this approach women are seen as inferior as they endure penis envy
  • . Due to this, they do not undergo the same Oedipus complex as boys. The superego develops from this conflict; therefore, women have a lower moral development.


What is beta bias?

Ignoring or underestimating differences between men and women

This occurs when female participants are not included in research process and assumed that research findings apply equally to both sexes


An example of beta bias

fight or flight response

Early research into fight or flight response was based exclusively on male animals(preferred for research because female hormones fluctuate). The fight or flight response was assumed to be universal response to a threatening situation



What is the consequence of beta bias?



What is the problem of beta bias?

Understanding of 'normal' behaviour is coming from research involving all male samples , then any behaviour that deviates from this standard is judged as 'abnormal'

This leads to female behaviour is being misunderstood and even pathologised (taken as a sign of illness)



First limitation

Problem of gender bias in psychological research

  • Gender bias research create misleading assumptions about female behaviour and validate discriminatory practices
  • It may provide scientific justification to deny women opportunites to work within the workplace or wider society (e.g because of PMS)
  • Gender bias in research is not just a methodological problem but may have damaging consequences which affect lives and prospects of real women



Second limitation

Gender bias promotes sexism in the research process

  • A lack of women at senior research level means female concerns may not reflected in research questions in asked. Male researchers is more likely to have work published
  • Also, female participants in lab studies are in a inequitable relationship with (usually with a male) researcher who has the power to label them irrational and unable to complete complex tasks



First strength

Understanding of gender bias leads to reflexivity

  • Researcher recongnise the effect of their values on their work (reflexivity). They embrace bias as an important aspect of the research process rahter than seeing it as a problem threatening the objective status of their work
  • In their study of the lack of women in accountancy firms. Dambrin and Lambert (2008) include reflection on how their geneder-related experiences influence their understanding of events
  • Such reflexivity is an important development in psychology and may lead to greater awareness of role and personal bias in shaping future research



Second strength

Feminist psychologist proposes how gender bias can be avoided

  • Worell and Remer (1992) suggest criteria researcher can follow to avoid gender bias. Women should be studied within meaingful real-life contexts, and genuinely particoate in research instead of being objects in a study
  • Diversity in groups of women should be studied rather than making a comparison between men and women. Finally, there wuld be a greater emphasis on collabortative research methods that collect qualitative data
  • Way of doing research may be preferable and less gender-biased then lab research


A second example of beta bias 

An example in Milgram study 65% electrcuited with men

women - 65% - the same

no gender bias?


Outline some of the gender biases that can occur in studies due to the way the research has been carried out and comment how the results can be used to promote inequalities

Only use male participants

= if research is male

lead to inequalities


Explain why research supporting differences between men and women is more likely to be published

Since women and men would respond differently to situations

It will have extreme findings

More interesting

More journals are sold

Leading to misunderstanding


Why is it wrong to assume all research has a gender bias?

In Milgram study found electrocuted rates are the same for men and women

Not all approaches consider geneder differences

Behavioural - how they learn


Subtle differences are found in research between men and women might be exaggererated to suppot gender differences

Explain how this can lead to a maintenance of gender supremacy of men in our society

  • e.g women are unreliable and expensive to emplloy as they miss work due to menstruation, pregnancy and childcare
  • Attachment - focus too much on women (they make better mother) - less men in child care
    • Bowlby says 2 and half is sensitive period


What is universality?

Aim to develop theories that apply to all people, which may include real differences


What is androcentrism?

Centred or focused on men, often to the neglect or exclusion of women