John Barry, Male Psychology Network
The phenomenon of ingroup favouritism and outgroup bias is a cornerstone of social psychology. The strength of such biases vary by group e.g. it is well-established that higher-status groups invoke more ingroup bias (e.g. Nosek et al, 2002). Men in general (historically and cross-culturally) have higher status than women in the public realm (politics, finance etc), so one would expect that male identity invokes a high level of ingroup bias. However research shows that – uniquely in social identity theory – male identity, unlike female identity, invokes no significant ingroup bias (e.g. Richeson & Ambady, 2001).
Men support each other effectively when the identity is based on something other than being male (e.g. football teams), but how do we explain the incohesive effect of male identity? There are several possibilities. For example, it could be that because infant attachment mostly happens with women (mothers), this programmes for greater bias towards women in later life (Rudman, 2004). Similarly, it could be that men are stereotypically more associated with violence and aggression, thus invoke less sympathy (Rudman & Goodman, 2004). Or it could be that on an evolutionary level, males are seen as the providers of protection, not the recipients of protection (Seager et al, 2016).
There are wide-ranging implications for men’s wellbeing. For example, although men commit suicide at three times the rate that women do (ONS, 2015), there is little attempt to understand why nor to reduce this problem. These issues will be critically discussed in our symposium.
The subject of identity will be discussed at a symposium UCL on 29th June, 9 am – 5pm. Male Identity will be presented as a poster presentation.
Nosek, B. A., Banaji, M. R., & Greenwald, A. G. (2002a). Harvesting
implicit group attitudes and beliefs from a demonstration Web site.
Group Dynamics: Theory, Research, and Practice, 6, 101–115. http://www.cos.gatech.edu/facultyres/Diversity_Studies/Nosek_HarvestingImplicit.pdf
Richeson, J. A., & Ambady, N. (2001). Who’s in charge? Effects of
situational roles on automatic gender bias. Sex Roles, 44, 493–512. http://emerald.tufts.edu/~nambad01/whosincharge.pdf
Rudman, L. A. (2004). Sources of implicit attitudes. Current Directions in
Seager, M., Farrell, W. & Barry, J.A. (2016). The Male Gender Empathy Gap: Time for psychology to take action. New Male Studies, 5(2), 6-16. http://www.malepsychology.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/article-2-.pdf