The Gender Bender!

Posted: March 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


Last week I tackled you are what you wear and I guess this is a broadining of that topic.

reading psychodynamic Alec’s Blog last week I decided to investigate the area of gender a bit myself to see if raising children in a non-gender specific environment could work. Alec raised several interesting and disturbing facts such as ” 41% of male transsexual’s reported previous suicide attempts (Maguena & Shipherdb, 2010).” and that 73% of teenagers who claimed to have gender dysmorphia felt they were comfortable in themselves in a follow up study as adults. But where does this all begin?

According to Taylor et al. (2009) in their article Boys will be boys; Cows will be cows, they lay out evidence that suggests children have regimented a strict preconceptions about what is feminine and masculine. This viewpoint can be augmented by several other studies.

HOWEVER!!! Shiny new evidence has emerged that suggests children are more open minded than we give them credit for. Children as young as four have been shown to have flexible view on what is gender specific and that overall preferences are down to the individual and whether or not they obey gender norms (For more on this read the BPS digest on the 21/3/12.)

Cunry-Murray & Turiel’s (2011) study which utilized computer games to distinguish children’s perception on gender.  The two statements from their article that caught my eye were…

“The ‘coolest boys’ are expected to spend time playing electronic games.”


Approximately three fourths of the boys and girls in both grades
agreed with the statement, “Most boys prefer the fighting games.”


“A majority of the sample agreed that it is acceptable for girls to play electronic games whenever they want.”

(Ellislee15 will be happy to hear this considering she has spent the last 2 weeks of her life playing Mass Effect, and it’s not even the new one.)

      So where has all this Blue for boys and Pink for girls originated from? Believe it or not originally in 1914 it was suggested that boy should wear pink as it is a strong colour and girls should wear light blue as it is delicate. On a darker note the Nazi’s used pink uniforms to identify homosexuals. On a nicer note, red dye is cheaper that blue dye and in china a baby boy is dressed in blue a when they marry it will bring a dowry to the family. So its all swings and round-a-bouts. My suggestion is that this is a faze and our children will dress our grandchildren in neon or something.

      I’ve supplied some contrasting evidence and tried to avoid going down the route of “Money Gender Reassignment” bit. I can see why someone might want to raise their child in a non-gender specific environment and by all means go for it but I want to know a couple of things. If the child is not he or she then you must call it “It” which is slightly devaluing and are you still going to be mummy and daddy? Boys and Girls are biologically/anatomically different this and our long evolutionary history has shape society in a way that these differences are celebrated and governed. It would be great if children didn’t have gender bias, but the ones in the real world do and sending a gender unaware child out into the big bad world of primary school just sounds like one step toward therapy sessions.

  • I’m unsure if this is an interesting topic area or whether I’m secretly still bitter about being made to wear a dress at my christening.

Boys will be boys…  DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2009.01272.x
Computer games…  DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-8624.2011.01696.x

Home work 14th march

Posted: March 14, 2012 in Uncategorized

The rest are replies to comments on my own blog.

Goths, Preps, Emos, Mods, Chavs, etc, are all easily definable because of the clothes they wear. We dress smartly in our suits for interviews and are team kits for sports. Dressing appropriately communicates a lot of information to others, but have you ever stopped to think that you clothes may be controlling you?
‘Enclothed Cognition” by Adam, H., and Galinsky, A. (2012) has brought to light some of the strange and interesting ways the clothes we wear have an effect on us. They focused on the power of a white coat (something we have all seen before in Milgram’s study but bare with me). 58 students were asked to do the stroop test (again bare with me), half wearing a white coat because they had been told there was building work in earlier trials so they wanted to keep it consistent. Weirdly the students in the white coats made half as many errors. Now we are to used to reading research results so maybe that doesn’t seem very impressive, but really think about it, a piece of white fabric with sleeves and a collar can make you better at a task. I know what I’m wearing in our next exams. They also did trials where they were told coat belongs to a painter and another where the coat was on a chair but they did little to improve scores.

Now the white coat thing might not seem to have much ecological validity (unless your a chemist), but think of all the real world examples where this could be taking place. wearing a robe in hospital might make u feel ill, mental institutions, dress codes for work, soldiers, riots,  the applications are fairly unlimited and apparently effective.

It’s common to hear of research where a persons attire can have an affect on a population( bushman, zimbardo etc), but I love the way they have flipped it on its head. You can imagine that a policeman in his high visibility car, stab vest etc would have a profound effect on who ever they pull over, but we rarely stop to think how that normal human being feels in that uniform. My advice don’t dress because that’s how you feel dress how you want to feel. Swimming shorts in the winter who’s in?

“Clothes can have profound and systematic psychological and behavioural consequences for their wearers… might the robe of a priest make us more moral? Would a firefighter’s suit make us more brave? “Although the saying goes that clothes do not make the man, …our results suggest they do hold a strange power over their wearers.”

I now only worry for the nudists.

homework 22/feb/12

Posted: February 21, 2012 in Uncategorized


Proof that the perception of time doesn’t work how you think it does, nor is it under your control.


How to make time go faster blog,

A selection of research displaying several factors effect the perception of time.

Introduction, leeds, Einstien once said “ an hour with a fit girl feels like a second but the pain of stumping you toe lasts for ages.

With the help of some research papers, I want to challenge your understanding of time the 4th dimension and prove that what you perceive of time isn’t always accurate.


Ever felt like the years are just getting shorter and shorter? Well this is all down to reference points. When you were 4 years old, you could only have acquired memories from those four years. But now your say 20, you have a whole 20 years worth of experience to refer to.


Have you ever looked at a clock and thought that the second hand lingers for just a little bit longer than it should have. This is caused by saccades; this is to do with the way the eye views certain precise stimuli. It rapidly shakes to absorb all the information but to stop the image appearing blurry the brain take a moment to focus. This means what you’re seeing has already changed but you just didn’t notice it. For a great example of this Google JST mind lab.


Work by Woehrle and magliano (2012) has shown that working memory is like a neural memo-pad. People with higher working memory capacity can hold more items in their mind whilst solving a concurrent problem or performing a distracting task. Participants were asked to solve maths tasks and then predict how long it had taken them to solve it.  Strangely people who had higher working memory reported that time went faster.

Tachypsychia or the tachy psyche effect.

 martial artiss often perceive time as being slower. This leaves more room for thinking time an therefore a better fighter.


The fighters only experience this during the fight , so perhaps our perception of time is controlled more by our unconscious than we are comfortable to believe.

Benjamin libet’s thought provoking research showed how the brain shows activity of decision making before we are even away of it.

Even the colour of the lighting in a room can affect your perception of time.  Participants stood in a pod flooded in either red or blue light and left when they thought two minutes had passed. You would assume blue would chill you out and time would go slower and that red would get the body excited and time would pass rapidly. However, what really happens is that the red light causes people to be more alert and therefore more aware of the time passing.


Take a guess now how long you think this video is and see how accurate you are.


Woehrle, J., and Magliano, J. (2012). Time flies faster if a person has a high working-memory capacity. Acta Psychologica, 139 (2), 314-319 DOI:

Video  —  Posted: February 17, 2012 in Uncategorized


Posted: February 10, 2012 in Uncategorized