Psychology of Gender

Discipline: Psychology
Instructor: Hebl
Credits: 3
Day: null
Start: 0800
End: 0915
Field Work: Day 1 - Wednesday, 6 August | Finland
Prerequisites: None. Download Syllabus

Is sexual orientation innate? Should female workers really “lean in,” as Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg suggests? What are the consequences of advertisements on women’s self-esteem? Are male models getting thinner too? Are there still gender differences in the classroom? How can we inspire women to succeed in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) courses?

The purpose of this course is to pose answers to these and other questions related to the psychology of gender. This course will provide an overview of research and theory on gender in psychology and we will examine the myths and stereotypes associated with men and women in our society, the social and psychological gender differences that have been identified in research, and the evidence and theoretical arguments concerning the origin of these differences. This course will be taught from an empirical perspective and findings will focus on those obtained in experimental psychological research.  Thus, we will identify the studies being conducted and the answers currently being proposed by the research community on longstanding and contemporary issues pertaining to the psychology of gender. In addition, we will cover selected topics that tie in to the study of gender including discrimination, leadership, negotiations, and sexual orientation. Finally, this course will be punctuated with trips to some countries that had made the world’s list of top countries for gender equity (e.g., Finland, Norway, Sweden) and we will explore this theoretically and with firsthand visits.

Field Work

Country: Finland
Day: 1 - Wednesday, 6 August

The Field Lab will occur in Helsinki on August 7th. This will involve a day-long visit that contains several components. First, we hope to meet and listen to talks by those who are a part of the Christina Institute at the University of Helsinki, which focuses on Gender Issues. We will learn about why Finland holds the second spot (behind Iceland only) on the Top 10 most gender equal countries in the world. Second, we will visit the Design Museum, which is celebrating its 140 year jubilee and holding a special exhibition on themes involving power, sexuality, gender, and otherness. Third, we will visit two merchants, the Academic Bookstore and Stockman’s to examine depiction of gender in children’s books, clothing, and toys. Academic Objectives: 1. Gain firsthand knowledge about why Finland is rated as second most gender egalitarian country in the world. 2. Learn from academicians and experts about the influence of gender in Finnish society. 3. Examine depictions of gender representations in a special exhibition on gender in Helsinki’s esteemed Design Museum. 4. Gain firsthand knowledge of how gender is depicted in children’s books, toys, and clothing, and examine the degree of objectification in women’s and men’s clothing and media portrayals.