Graphing the order of the sexes: Constructing, recalling, interpreting, and putting the self in gender difference graphs

Hegarty, P. J.; Lemieux, A. and McQueen, G. (2010). Graphing the order of the sexes: Constructing, recalling, interpreting, and putting the self in gender difference graphs. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 98(3) 375 - 391.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1037/a0018590

Abstract

Graphs seem to connote facts more than words or tables do. Consequently, they seem unlikely places to spot implicit sexism at work. Yet, in 6 studies (N _ 741), women and men constructed (Study 1) and recalled (Study 2) gender difference graphs with men’s data first, and graphed powerful groups (Study 3) and individuals (Study 4) ahead of weaker ones. Participants who interpreted graph order as evidence of author “bias” inferred that the author graphed his or her own gender group first (Study 5). Women’s, but not men’s, preferences to graph men first were mitigated when participants graphed a difference between themselves and an opposite-sex friend prior to graphing gender differences (Study 6). Graph production and comprehension are affected by beliefs and suppositions about the groups represented in graphs to a greater degree than cognitive models of graph comprehension or realist models of scientific thinking have yet acknowledged

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