Select your language

Suggested languages for you:
Log In Start studying!
StudySmarter - The all-in-one study app.
4.8 • +11k Ratings
More than 3 Million Downloads
Free
|
|

All-in-one learning app

  • Flashcards
  • NotesNotes
  • ExplanationsExplanations
  • Study Planner
  • Textbook solutions
Start studying

Gender Bias

Save Save
Print Print
Edit Edit
Sign up to use all features for free. Sign up now
Gender Bias

Gender bias means that one gender is treated in a more or less favourable way, based on gender stereotypes rather than real differences. In psychology, this affects research as it can impact the way genders are studied. It can also affect the way results of such studies are applied. Gender bias can cause misleading or inaccurate scientific results, maintain gender stereotyping, and justify gender discrimination.

Bias

Bias is a false or inaccurate perception about a group of people or a set of beliefs. These perceptions are often based on stereotypes relating to characteristics such as race, gender, or sexual orientation. Everyone is biased to a certain extent; however, if bias is not acknowledged it can cause harm.

A white person may be biased against a non-white person because they associate a certain skin colour with a lack of intelligence, moral inferiority, and the like. At the same time, a person of colour may feel negatively biased towards a white person for no other reason than the colour of their skin. These are not accurate perceptions.

We now consider how gender bias appears in psychology.

The main types of gender bias in psychology

Alpha bias

This refers to the exaggeration of the differences between men and women. Alpha bias emphasizes the stereotypical differences or characteristics between men and women. Alpha bias makes one gender, usually male, seem 'better' than the other. This usually involves the devaluation of the less 'superior' gender.

An example of this is Freud's suggestion that girls have weaker superegos than boys because they do not experience an Oedipus complex. Weaker superegos imply weaker or more inferior morality. According to Freud, girls are morally inferior because they are unable to resolve the Oedipus conflict as successfully as boys. The image below shows a typical representation of gender stereotyping.

Gender bias in psychology [+] woman and man [+] StudySmarterClaims of vast differences between men and women are may show alpha bias. pixabay.com

Beta bias

This refers to the minimization of the differences between men and women. This is in contrast to alpha bias. For example, a psychological study with male and female participants may result in the same findings for both genders without additional research to consider gender differences. There are two types of beta bias.

  • Androcentrism

Androcentrism refers to the idea did male thinking and behaviour is 'normal', whilst female thinking and behaviour is 'abnormal'. An example of this is using only male participants in a psychological study and applying results to everyone. Any behaviour which deviates from this is likely to be judged negatively.

  • Gynocentrism

Gynocentrism refers to the idea that female thinking and behaviour is 'normal' whilst male thinking and behaviour is 'abnormal'. For example, using only female participants in a psychological study and applying results to everyone. Any behaviour which deviates is likely to be judged negatively.

What are the consequences of gender bias in psychology?

Positive consequences

Alpha bias:

  • Some research has been done into stereotypically female qualities.
  • Alpha bias in psychological research has led to a lot of criticism when 'male' qualities are valued more highly than 'female' ones. Examples of these include seeing dominance and aggression as desirable traits.

Beta bias:

  • Minimizing the differences between men and women can help. This can lead to equal opportunities and access to society. For example, women are less likely to be refused employment based on their gender.

Negative consequences

Alpha bias:

  • Even if men and women are different from each other, not all men are the same and not all women are the same. There are many ways in which men and women differ within their own gender. Alpha bias does not consider this.
  • Emphasizing gender differences can reinforce gender stereotypes and discriminatory behaviour. This can lead to the view that one gender is inferior because of these differences. For example, male applicants for a job may be preferred over female applicants because they may be seen as more competent leaders or decision-makers. Similarly, female applicants may be preferred over male applications for professions requiring more sensitivity and empathy, such as teaching or therapy. We can hold such gender stereotypes without realizing it.

  • Stereotypes created from seeking research have been used to justify male dominance in political, educational, and social contexts. Some psychologists state that the differences between men and women are not as great as they are claimed to be.

  • It is sometimes difficult to distinguish between actual gender differences and culturally created gender differences. Therefore, some claims made through alpha bias may actually be a result of cultural values and perceptions.

Beta bias:

  • Applying research results equally to all genders ignores the impact of power structures. There are many differences between the genders that may affect the findings of studies.
  • Beta bias is considered a misrepresentation.
  • Androcentrism can result in a misleading understanding of human behaviour because research is only focused on male behaviour, patterns, and interests. This means similar research for females may not be pursued to the same extent.

Gender Bias in psychology [+] positive and negative thoughts [+] StudySmarterPositive or negative thoughts or beliefs in our brains can vary according to who holds them. flaticon.com/authors/parzival-1997

Examples of gender bias in psychology

Here are some examples of the different types of gender bias in psychological research.

Freud

  • Alpha bias

Freud reinforced gender stereotypes based on physical differences between men and women. He claimed that physical differences meant that there were also psychological differences.

Freud established traditional roles and gender stereotypes based on sex. Deviations from such roles were considered abnormal.

  • Androcentrism (beta bias)

Freud theorized that women have 'penis envy', especially if they had career ambitions as this meant they wanted to be like men.

Kohlberg

  • Androcentrism (beta bias)

Kohlberg's findings on moral development were generalized to women despite collecting data from only male participants. He claimed that women do not morally develop as much as men do. Kohlberg's classification system was based on justice.

Gilligan

  • Alpha bias

Gilligan criticized Kolhberg's findings and claimed that women make moral decisions based on relationships rather than justice, which is why they might appear to have a lower level of moral reasoning under Kohlberg's system.

However, the differences between men and women's moral reasoning may not be as different as Gilligan's research shows.

Gender bias - key takeaways

    • Gender bias means that one gender is treated in a more or less favourable way, based on gender stereotypes rather than real differences. It can have a major impact on psychological research and reinforce gender stereotypes.
    • Bias is the set of natural perceptions or beliefs about a certain group of people that can cause favourable or unfavourable treatment towards them.
    • The main types of gender bias are alpha bias and beta bias. Alpha bias emphasizes the psychological differences between men and women whilst beta bias minimizes them.
    • Research into women's psychology has been carried out to address the issue of alpha bias in psychology, which tends to perceive men as superior. Alpha bias reinforces gender stereotypes and leads to prejudice and discrimination.
    • Beta bias can help view men and women equally as human beings rather than according to gender. However, beta bias fails to consider differences between the genders that may impact the way each individual thinks or behaves. Androcentrism within beta bias is especially criticized because it focuses on male psychology and behaviours.
    • There have been multiple psychological studies into men and women that allegedly had a gender bias. Freud claimed that physical differences between the genders meant there were also psychological differences. Kohlberg believed men have more developed moral reasoning and Gilligan claimed that women simply make moral decisions differently.

Frequently Asked Questions about Gender Bias

Gender bias means that one gender is treated in a more or less favorable way, based on gender stereotypes rather than real differences. It is a belief or set of beliefs that one gender is superior or inferior.

One may not be able to avoid gender bias entirely as everyone has some level of bias. Most people may not even realize they are biased. However, recognizing one's own bias and understanding it may reduce its negative impact. This can be done through education; for example, an employer may provide training for employees to help them acknowledge and reduce bias.

Final Gender Bias Quiz

Question

What is gender bias?

Show answer

Answer

Gender bias is the more favorable or unfavorable perception or treatment of any gender group.

Show question

Question

How can gender bias affect psychological research?


Show answer

Answer

Gender bias can affect psychological research if it is not conducted fairly or produces misleading or inaccurate findings. Research can also be impacted if it is overly generalized or based on cultural values ​​rather than scientific factors. An example of gender bias is using all-male participants to study human behavior; this is because the results will be applied to everyone even though there were no female participants.

Show question

Question

Which one of the following is NOT a type of beta bias?

  • Androcentrism 

  • Alpha bias 

  • Gynocentrism 

Show answer

Answer

Alpha bias

Show question

Question

Is it considered alpha bias if a study suggests that female brains are more inclined to make decisions based on morality whilst male brains are more likely to make decisions based on their own interests?


Show answer

Answer

Yes. Alpha bias exaggerates the differences between men and women and appears to favor one gender over the other. In this case, the study makes females seem 'better' than their male counterparts.


Show question

Question

What is one disadvantage of alpha bias?


Show answer

Answer

One disadvantage of alpha bias is that the differences betwen men and women may sometimes come from cultural values, which can be hard to distinguish in psychological findings. Other correct answers include: there are differences within genders, alpha bias upholds stereotypes and justifies discrimination, the differences may not exist as much as portrayed, and alpha bias appears to maintain male dominance in several contexts.

Show question

Question

Which of the following is considered to be gender bias?

  • Conducting a psychological study on memory with 50 female and 50 male participants and considering differences in results between genders
  • Studying the influence of external factors on men and women when making a moral decision
  • Publishing comprehensive findings of amnesia using 1,200 female amnesiac patients

Show answer

Answer

The final study contains gender (gynocentric) bias as there are generalized findings to all human beings when only one gender was studied. The findings make assumptions about male amnesiac patients without studying them for any differences. 


Show question

60%

of the users don't pass the Gender Bias quiz! Will you pass the quiz?

Start Quiz

Discover the right content for your subjects

No need to cheat if you have everything you need to succeed! Packed into one app!

Study Plan

Be perfectly prepared on time with an individual plan.

Quizzes

Test your knowledge with gamified quizzes.

Flashcards

Create and find flashcards in record time.

Notes

Create beautiful notes faster than ever before.

Study Sets

Have all your study materials in one place.

Documents

Upload unlimited documents and save them online.

Study Analytics

Identify your study strength and weaknesses.

Weekly Goals

Set individual study goals and earn points reaching them.

Smart Reminders

Stop procrastinating with our study reminders.

Rewards

Earn points, unlock badges and level up while studying.

Magic Marker

Create flashcards in notes completely automatically.

Smart Formatting

Create the most beautiful study materials using our templates.

Sign up to highlight and take notes. It’s 100% free.