ERIC Number: ED241872
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
The Potential Enrichment of Social/Personality Psychology through Feminist Research, and Vice Versa.
Although many colleges offer programs in women's studies, research on the psychology of women has very low visibility in professional journals. Feminist research can enrich the discipline of social and personality psychology through its unique orientation and methodology. Gender must be viewed as both a characteristic of participants in a situation and a stimulus to which persons respond. Both men and women must be used in research samples in order to derive conclusions about all of human behavior. Gender stereotypes must be separated from definitions of good functioning and mental health. To date, uniquely female roles, behaviors, and occupations remain relatively unstudied, due to the tendency to study women in terms of their relationships to men. The study of behavior must acknowledge the differences in status and power between the sexes. Feminist research must examine new sources of information from ethological/observational modes as opposed to laboratory studies of social behavior. Behavior should be studied as a function of both the person and the context. In reporting gender differences, the feminist researcher must take into account the magnitude of effect along with statistical significance and the traditional values and language used in the male dominated field. Feminist theory's response to gender differences is still in its infancy. Both social factors and life experiences have created a women's culture with both historical and contemporary significance. However, caution must be employed in focusing on women's uniqueness as it may lead back to gender stereotypes, while ignoring within-gender variability. Feminist theory can aid social/personality psychology by forcing a revolution in scholarship directed toward change. (BL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (91st, Anaheim, CA, August 26-30, 1983).