Annual Review of Psychology Volume 69: Language, Gender, and Replication

Browse the Annual Review of Psychology Volume 69 table of contents.

ps69-langWhile I’m used to thinking about language as a way of gauging cognitive development “Linking Language and Cognition in Infancy” by Perszyk and Waxman had me thinking about the ways language influences cognition. For instance:

…more recent developmental evidence reveals that, even before infants begin to speak, words invite them to form categories. The evidence for this claim comes from a robust behavioral paradigm, elegant in its simplicity. It is essentially an object categorization task with two phases. During the familiarization phase, infants view a series of discriminably different objects (e.g., dog, horse, duck) from a given object category (e.g., animal). Next, during the test phase, infants view two new objects—one a member of the now-familiar category (e.g., a cat) and the other a member of an entirely different category (e.g., an apple). The logic of this paradigm is straightforward: If infants detect the category-based commonalities among the familiarization objects, then they should distinguish the novel test image from the familiar; if they fail to detect these commonalities, then they should perform at chance levels ….The evidence reveals that, by 12 months of age, even before they produce more than a few words on their own, infants have established a principled link between object naming and object categorization.

I found  “Gender Stereotypes” by Ellemers  quite an interesting read.  I particularly responded to the summation in the section “How We Can Benefit From This Knowledge”:

Gender stereotypes prevent women and men from equally sharing the care for children and family members and from equally benefiting from the interpersonal connections made through these activities. Gender stereotypes prevent women with successful careers from finding a romantic partner and men without employment from feeling valued. They cause us to underestimate the emotional burden of care functions for women and the physical burden of strenuous labor for men. This is not only costly for the individuals ps69-genderinvolved but also for society, as it impacts the psychological and physical well-being of individuals, the resilience of families, and the long-term availability and contributions of workers in the labor market. We are only human and have to accept that we are subject to stereotypical thinking and gendered expectations. Accepting our fallibility in this way, rather than denying that gender stereotypes play a role while implicitly reproducing them, makes it easier to correct for any undesired outcomes that may result.

Shrout and Rodgers’ article “ Psychology, Science, and Knowledge Construction: Broadening Perspectives from the Replication Crisis” is a good overview of the history of evaluating results, the problems with current practices, and steps that have been taken to verify findings.  I was particularly interested in how the changes in research procedure have affected scientists:

As calls have been made to change the way science is conducted in psychology by preregistering designs and analyses and increasing sample sizes, some authors have noted what might be called collateral damage. The three types of damage that have been identified are (a) slowing and ultimate reduction of new findings and phenomena, (b) penalizing different subfields with the imposition of one-size-fits-all norms, and (c) discouraging young scientists from staying in the field because of the higher bar for publication and professional advancement.