Is gender bias still an issue in psychological research today? And does this research only really tell us about male behaviour? Simone de Beauvoir (1949) stated the, ‘Representation of the world, like the world itself, is the work of men; they describe it from their own point of view, which they confuse with the truth’.
Hare-Mustin and Maracek suggested two ways in which gender bias can formulate in psychological studies, Alpha Bias and Beta Bias.
Alpha bias is the tendency to assume that there were real and permanent differences between males and females. Freud’s research into psychosexual development is a strong example of alpha bias in psychology because he viewed females as being inferior and jealous of their male counterparts.
Alternatively, Beta bias is the tendency to minimise the differences between males and females and assuming that females are similar to males in all aspects. Kohlberg’s research into moral reasoning is an example of beta bias because he assumed that the results he obtained from questioning men about moral dilemmas would apply to women.
As most studies are conducted by men, and most participants are male too, it can be difficult to completely remove all forms of gender bias from a study. Sampling may be biased, as in Zimbardo’s and Milgram’s studies, which then leads to generalizing results from all male research to women. Also, gender biased hypotheses may encourage stereotypical beliefs about gender differences between males and females and promote inaccurate beliefs about female behaviour.
All in all, I believe that gender bias is still an issue in some aspects, but with the development of science and the way we conduct our research now, it has become less of an issue than it was in the past. With more and more female psychologists now conducting their own studies and the issue of gender bias being more apparent, I believe that gender bias towards males will eventually be subdued with time.
Thank you for reading 😀