Who is the (second) graphed sex and why? The meaning of order in graphs of gender differences.

Hegarty, P. J. and Lemieux, A. (2011). Who is the (second) graphed sex and why? The meaning of order in graphs of gender differences. In: Schubert, T. and Maass, A. eds. Spatial Dimensions of Social Thought. Applications of Cognitive Linguistics [ACL] 18. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter, 325 - 350.

URL: http://www.degruyter.com/viewbooktoc/product/63115

Abstract

In this chapter, we propose that the study of graphs from a social psychological perspective is both warranted and necessary. We review the literatures on both cognitive studies of graphing, as well as the relativist theory of scientific visualization. Extending on these frameworks, we provide a detailed review of our research on graphs that shows (a) a widespread preference to graph men before women, (b) that this preference is influenced by social thought, (c) that this social thought is not easily deciphered when people assess graphs for evidence of bias, and (d) that preferences for graph order change when people draw on different social beliefs about the groups that are represented. We conclude by recommending that these initial empirical studies of what graphs mean should be the impetus for developing a social psychology of graphs.

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