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Behav. Sci. 2018, 8(6), 57; https://doi.org/10.3390/bs8060057

Correcting a Longstanding Misconception about Social Roles and Personality: A Case Study in the Psychology of Science

Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
Received: 16 May 2018 / Revised: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 31 May 2018 / Published: 4 June 2018
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Abstract

Psychologists often argue that sex roles direct different types of socializing behaviors toward males and females and that this differential treatment, in turn, leads to sex differences in personality. Widely cited in support of this thesis has been the Fels longitudinal study finding that dependency and passivity are stable from childhood to adulthood for females only and aggressiveness and sexuality for males only. The present article explains why the type of sex differences in personality stability cited by Fels researchers actually contradicts the view that sex role expectations cause these differences. The report suggests ways in which social learning theory, the dominant developmental paradigm of the 1960s, may have contributed to the misinterpretation of the Fels data and how the rise of social constructivism maintained this misinterpretation for decades. The article concludes by correcting misconceptions about biology and personality stability and by explaining why theories that incorporate biology are not only more adequate than social constructivism but also more effective in bringing about the changes in society that constructivists desire. View Full-Text
Keywords: sex differences in personality; sex roles; psychology of science; motivated cognition sex differences in personality; sex roles; psychology of science; motivated cognition
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Johnson, J.A. Correcting a Longstanding Misconception about Social Roles and Personality: A Case Study in the Psychology of Science. Behav. Sci. 2018, 8, 57.

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