Embodied standpoints in gender difference graphs and tables: When, where, and why are men still prioritized?

Hegarty, Peter and Parr, Amy (2023). Embodied standpoints in gender difference graphs and tables: When, where, and why are men still prioritized? Feminism and Psychology (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/09593535231181240

Abstract

Gender difference graphs and tables typically present data representing males first, ahead of data representing females. The APA Publication Manual in 2010 advised authors against this ‘bias’ when reporting gender differences. An experiment examined how this preference is related to embodied cognition, and two content analytic studies examined its persistence despite APA’s advice against it. In Study 1, 256 students drew bar graphs of gender differences and power differences. Participants spontaneously arrayed men first and higher power groups first most often, even when graph axes were placed to cue the opposite order. These results suggest that male-first order preferences follow from embodied biases to position agentic groups left and higher up in graphs and tables. Two content analyses systematically sampled psychology articles in four journals over a decade (Study 2) or 70 journals in a recent year (Study 3) to examine the impact of the APA manual’s advice on authors. The male-first preference remains prevalent in psychology publications, has reversed in Psychology of Women Quarterly (Study 2) and become polarized by author gender in social psychology (Study 3). These findings suggest that embodied cognition affects the visual representation of gender differences in psychology and is variably moderated by recent injunctions.

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