Thinking Critically about Research on Sex and Gender / Edition 1

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The only book about research on sex and gender with critical thinking as its core theme! Thinking Critically about Research on Sex and Gender, Third Edition, is written to be easily accessible in very short chapters. The authors demonstrate that most of the claims about sex and gender are not well supported by research and then provide readers with critical tools they can apply to come to realistic, constructive conclusions. All of this is provided in a concise, inexpensive volume by a best-selling trade author and instructor team.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780065016215
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/1993
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 6.09 (w) x 9.16 (h) x 0.27 (d)

Meet the Author

Paula J. Caplan, Ph.D., is a clinical and research psychologist and Lecturer at Harvard University. She graduated from Radcliffe College of Harvard University and has won teaching awards from the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations as a Professor at the University of Toronto and from Harvard. She is the author of ten books — including They Say You're Crazy: How the World's Most Powerful Psychiatrists Decide Who's Normal, Don't Blame Mother: Mending the Mother-Daughter Relationship, The Myth of Women's Masochism, Lifting a Ton of Feathers: A Woman's Guide to Surviving in the Academic World—and dozens of papers. She was a winner of a Distinguished Career Award and a Christine Ladd-Franklin Award from the Association for Women in Psychology, a Toronto YWCA Women of Distinction Award, an American Psychological Association Eminent Woman Psychologist Award, and a Canadian Association for Women in Science Woman of the Year Award.

Jeremy Caplan, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta. He received his doctorate at Brandeis University in Neuroscience. His research focuses on the behavioral and brain basis of human memory from a variety of approaches including methods of experimental psychology, cognitive neuroscience and mathematical modeling. In 2008, Dr. Caplan received the prestigious Alberta Ingenuity Fund New Faculty Award to study the effects of interference on memory.

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Table of Contents

Preface to First Edition xi

Preface to Second Edition xiii

Preface to Third Edition xv

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

The Cycle of Bias 1

Two Dangerous Assumptions 2

A Whole New Way of Thinking 4

What You Will Learn 5

What Do We Mean by Sex and Gender? 6

Outline of the Text 9

Keeping Sex Differences in Perspective 11

Chapter 2 A Brief Historical Perspective on Sex-Difference Research 13

Whose History Is It, Anyway? 13

The Search for Proof of Women's Inferiority 14

Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology: Today's Social Darwinism? 20

Summary of Some Problematic Patterns 22

Chapter 3 Using Scientific Method to Study Sex and Gender 23

Choosing What to Study 24

Determining Exactly What You're Looking For 24

Designing the Research 25

Carrying Out the Study 27

Interpreting the Results 29

Meta-Analysis: Combining Studies 30

Why Study Sex/Gender Differences? 31

Chapter 4 Are Boys Better than Girls at Math? 36

Measuring "Math Reasoning Ability" 38

The Problem of Obtaining a Uniform Sample 39

The Power of Suggestion 40

From Specific to General 41

The Unjustified Claim That Males' Superiority Is Innate 42

A Recent Development 44

Chapter 5 Sex Differences in Spatial Abilities 46

What Are Spatial Abilities? 46

Extent of Sex Differences 48

Building Theories on Shifting Sands 49

Chapter 6 Do Females Have Better Verbal Abilities than Males? 52

What Are Verbal Abilities? 53

Are There Sex Differences in Verbal Abilities? 55

Problems with Test Construction 56

Why Have Some People Believed in Females' Verbal Superiority? 57

Chapter 7 Modern Research About Sex Differences in the Brain 58

Studying the Brain: What Can andCan't We Learn from This Complementary Approach to Sex-Difference Research? 58

How Brain Structure and Function Are Measured 59

Laying Bare the Assumptions Underlying Brain Research About Sex Differences 60

An Example: The Connection Between the Hemispheres of the Brain 63

Chapter 8 Do Hormones Make the Woman-or the Man? 65

What Could "PMS" Be? 67

What Is Postpartum Depression? 70

Is Menopause a Problem? 71

Why It's Hard to Investigate Hormonally Caused Problems 72

Is There a "Male Menopause"? 75

The Choice of Research Question 76

Chapter 9 Sexuality 78

Males as the Standard 78

Prototypes and Stereotypes 79

Are Findings of Difference Universal? Cross-Cultural Comparisons 80

Are Findings of Difference Biologically Based? Comparative Animal Studies 80

Some Notes About Sexual Orientation 81

Homosexuality Called a Disorder 83

The "Causes" of Homosexuality 84

"Gender Identity Disorder" 86

Chapter 10 The Myth of Women's Masochism 87

May's Study 89

A New Look at Females and Masochism 92

Chapter 11 Should Relational Abilities Be Called "Dependency"? 94

Dependency and Emotions 95

Are Females Morally Inferior to Males? 97

Assertiveness 99

A Revealing Pair of Studies 100

Chapter 12 Sex Differences in Aggression 102

Is Males' Greater Aggressiveness Innate? 103

The Research on Sex Differences in Aggression 106

Are Females Aggressive in Different Ways? 108

Some Social and Political Consequences of Assumptions About Aggression 109

Toward a More Enlightened Future 110

Chapter 13 Mother-Blame 111

Is Mother-Blame Either Justified or Helpful? 112

Distortions of Father's Role 115

Why Does Mother-Blaming Occur? 116

Chapter 14 Breaking the Cycle of Bias: Becoming an Informed Judge of Research 119

References 121

Index 137

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