Bias, Feminism, and the Psychology of Investigating Gender

Alice H. Eagly

in Psychology of Science

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199753628
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199950027 | DOI:
Bias, Feminism, and the Psychology of Investigating Gender

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Implicit judgmental biases compromise scientists' theories and research on the psychology of gender. One form of bias — social cognition — engages correspondent inference and the linked principle of psychological essentialism. Scientists thus typically favor explaining behavior by invoking personal traits that correspond to observed behaviors and by viewing the traits of men and women in essentialist terms. Scientists also exhibit ingroup bias based on their gender, which influences science through the linked principle of the congeniality bias in information processing, thus involving two basic phenomena of social psychology. Scientists therefore tend to favor theories and interpretations that flatter their own gender and shore up their gender identities. The equal representation of the sexes among researchers would help restrain the pro-male bias apparent in many of the traditional gender theories. These judgmental biases warrant further examination, in relation to not only gender research but also research pertaining to other social groups.

Keywords: implicit biases; gender; correspondent inference; psychological essentialism; social cognition; ingroup bias; congeniality bias; social psychology; gender identity; judgmental biases

Chapter.  10727 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Cognitive Psychology

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