Here’s How Gender Bias In Social Science Works

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About Noah Brand

Noah Brand is an Editor-at-Large at Good Men Project, and possibly also a cartoon character from the 1930s. His life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. He is usually found in Portland, Oregon, directly underneath a very nice hat.


  1. For another example of this, see my critique of how household chores are calculated in national time use surveys- right here at GMP:

    (As a social science researcher myself, it infuriates me when I see poor studies, and especially when “jornalists” uncritically tout spurious results based on a press release and not on understanding what is and isn’t good research methodology)

  2. Liz McKinnell says:

    I’m not sure that this study really merits this sort of attack. The abstract for the study states that the findings were that:

    Results show that incorrect science facts accepted as true after seeing identical segments from movies depend on the gender of the participant and a manipulation of the perceived centrality of science to the plot. Men tended to detect more inaccurate science facts when they thought science was central to the plot. Women detected more inaccurate science facts when they thought science was peripheral to the plot, which was presented as a relational story. The results may have implications for research on media effects, public understanding of science, and gender differences in learning.

    (I can’t get the actual article, because the link from the abstract goes straight to s different but very interesting one on the ethics of science communication)

    There is NOTHING in the abstract at least that says that these responses are ‘hard-wired’ (even if that phrase makes any sense). The study does not propose any form of gender essentialism, or suggest that men and women ‘just are’ a particular way, taken apart from culture.

    There are various explanations that we might give for the results that were found. Some of them (probably pretty rubbish, biased, unsubstantiated ones, because they usually are) might appeal to some sort of essential sexual dimorphism in the brain. Others, like you, may say that this is due to a set of self-imposed stereotypes that we have been trained to absorb.

    But please don’t put these things at the door of the experimenters without good cause. That is as bad as the idiots who leap on this sort of study as justification to send us all back to the kitchen.

  3. So the men overall detect more science inaccuracies? Interesting. Wonder if that’s due to men being more S.T.E.M based?


  1. [...] A new study finds gender differences in learning, using a methodology guaranteed to maximize gender differences. Bad science in action.  [...]

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