Psychology Alumni and Professor to Publish Article on Documented Gender Stereotype in Psychology

(LEBANON, Ill., July 22, 2021) - Three McKendree University psychology alumni and Dr. Guy A. Boysen, professor of psychology and lead researcher on the project, were recently informed that their article titled “Evidence for a Gender Stereotype About Psychology and its Effects on Perceptions of Men’s and Women’s Fit in the Field” was accepted for publication. The article is forthcoming in the academic journal The Journal of Social Psychology, which publishes research on basic and applied social psychology, including behavior, attitudes, interpersonal relationships and more.

The three 2020 graduates, Rebecca Chicosky, Faith Rose and Erin Delmore, assisted with research and co-wrote the article with Dr. Boysen. The researchers surveyed over 1,500 participants across six studies, who demonstrated their association of psychology as a major and a profession more closely with women and stereotypical feminine traits. Although the feminine stereotype about psychologists isn’t as pronounced as it is for nursing or elementary education, people do view psychologists as more feminine than neuroscientists, physicians and college professors.

“A gender stereotype about psychology, or any field for that matter, is not inherently bad. What is a problem, however, is when people start eliminating psychology as a career option based on a stereotype,” said Dr. Boysen. He emphasized that psychology can lead to successful careers in science, industry, teaching, mental health care and many other areas.

Educators and scientists have long expressed concern that gender stereotypes drive some people away from careers that fit their talents. More worrisome is the fact that women have avoided or been excluded from stereotypically masculine careers in math and science due to perceptions of poor fit. In this study, the McKendree researchers documented that the feminine stereotype makes psychology appear to be a bad fit for men and their career needs.