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SIP - The Power of Perspective. Sarah Lamer

A Psychology Honors Thesis in partial fulfillment of requirements for the Bachelors of Arts at Connecticut College.
by

Sarah Loo

on 7 April 2013

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Transcript of SIP - The Power of Perspective. Sarah Lamer

The Power of Perspective:

Implications of Seeing Gender as Natural or Nurtured The Power of Perspective: Implications
of Seeing Gender
as Natural or Nurtured By Sarah Lamer "on many, many different human attributes-height, weight, propensity for criminality, overall IQ, mathematical ability, scientific ability-there is relatively clear evidence that whatever the difference in means-which can be debated-there is a difference in the standard deviation, and variability of a male and a female population."

-Lawrence Summers, Harvard President-2005 An essentialist theory... A social constructivist theory... Methodology Two Perspectives on the Source of Gender? The Journey The Interpretation The Question The Method The Results How does each of these perspectives change how people behave? Essentialist Social Constructivist vs. …when mothers were asked to rate the crawling abilities of their infants, mothers of girls significantly underestimated abilities whereas mothers of boys overestimated ability…” “…male monkeys showed significantly greater interest in the masculine toys, and the female monkeys showed significantly greater interest in the feminine toys…” Participants read either of two articles to prime a social constructivist or essentialist theory: Locus of Control Perceived Ability Implicit Associations "I don’t know what is right and what is wrong in our society." "Usually, I succeed in attaining what I want." You scored in the 35th percentile. Not at all -------- Very much How much do you agree?
Not at all --------Very much Science Liberal Arts Girl speed of associations between each category Hypotheses: an essentialist theory would lead to...



...than a social constructivist
theory. more external locus of control less persistence stronger implicit associations Essentialist External Locus of Control Social Constructivist Stereotypical Assocations Memory about whether women or men performed better at the task. People prefer to make external attributions for their own failures but internal attributions for their own successes. Persistence External Locus of Control Persistence Stereotypical Assocations Self-Serving Attributional Error I suggest that... Women may have preferred essentialism because it made them feel that their lack of social dominance and gender disparities are due to fixed, unchanging factors (e.g., genes) rather than internal behaviors and malleable social factors. Men may have preferred social constructivism because it made them feel male social dominance (i.e., success) and gender disparities are due to internal behaviors and malleable social factors rather than fixed, unchanging factors (e.g., genes). But each preferred theory also led to stronger stereotypical assocations... Future Directions: use a control condition essentialist or social constructivist theories on beauty
Special thanks to my thesis committee - Dr. Joan Chrisler, Dr. Ann Sloan Devlin, & Ms. Jennifer Gorman - the rest of the Psychology Department, & the Holleran Center staff and faculty for their support. The Power of Perspective: By Sarah Lamer Thank you for listening! Essentialist "It does appear that on many, many different human attributes-height, weight, propensity for criminality, overall IQ, mathematical ability, scientific ability-there is relatively clear evidence that whatever the difference in means-which can be debated-there is a difference in the standard deviation, and variability of a male and a female population."
-Lawrence Summers , 2005
Harvard University Evolutionarily, biologically based
“Gender differences are due to inborn sex differences.” Social Constructivist Socially based
“Gender differences are due to social expectations and modeling.” "What social psychologists find is that when they push gender into the psychological background, men and women’s behaviour becomes remarkably similar, even in areas where traditionally the sexes would behave differently."
-Cordelia Fine, 2010
Delusions of Gender Implications
of Seeing Gender
as Natural or Nurtured Social Constructivist Essentialist External: Internal: How much do you believe you'd be able to improve? gender identity moderator preferred theory --->
norm amount of stereotyping unpreferred theory --->
disrupted women and men's typical perspectives and may have caused them to be more aware and slower to make stereotypical associations. Public Policy: highlight the social influences on gender How we convey information about gender differences provide both social and biological theories about gender in order to make people aware of biases
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