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Psychology 98Ta

Psychology 98Ta: The Psychology of Gender in Sports


Instructor Information:

Name: Kimberly Kahn
Office Hours:  Wednesdays 10-12, 5437A Franz Hall
Contact info:

Seminar Overview:

Most of us have participated in sports or have been exposed to sports on television.  We might enjoy playing, watching, and following our favorite sporting team.  Using a social psychological approach, this course will examine how issues of race and gender affect the sporting domain.  We will explore how racial and gender stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination impact athletes, coaches, referees, and fans.

This seminar has several goals:
1.    To inform you about the theories, methods, and research findings related to the
psychology of race and gender in sport.
2.    To understand how a social psychological perspective can inform sport psychology.
3.    To teach you the values of the scientific method in answering research questions.
4.    To foster a positive classroom environment in which you are free to discuss, question, and debate class readings and topics.
5.    To help your improve you written and verbal communication skills.

Required Readings:

The majority of readings for this course are scientific research articles that have been gathered for you into a course reader.  The course reader is available to purchase at XXXX.

Course Responsibilities:

This seminar will be heavily discussion based.  To get the most out of this seminar, you must be an active participant.  Therefore, it is important for you to come to class having done the readings and ready to discuss them.  I will strive to create a classroom atmosphere in which open dialog and communication is comfortable and encouraged.  On that note, please be respectful of the students’ thoughts and opinions in the class, even if you don’t agree with them.

Thought Papers.
To aid in your preparation for class, most weeks will have a 1-2 page “thought” paper due 24 hours before the start of class.  You will email these papers to me at  Please put your last name, followed by Thought Paper #1,2, etc. as the subject line of the email (e.g Kahn Thought Paper #10).  These thought papers should be in response to the weekly readings for the upcoming class.  You are free to write your reactions, critiques, interpretations, or suggest unanswered questions proposed by the readings.   These papers will also help me lead the discussion each week.

Research Paper.
At the end of the course, you will have a 10-12 page research paper due.  This paper will be on a topic of your choosing that is related to the course material.  You will conduct a literature review on the topic and propose an unanswered research question that you would be interested in testing.  You will have a rough draft that is due in class during Week 7.  During this class, you will have your paper peer reviewed by two class members.  I will also provide feedback.  More details on the final paper will be given in class.

Final Presentation.
Our last class session will be spent having each student give a 10 minute presentation of their research paper.  This presentation will allow the other class members to hear your research topic and ideas, and will provide an opportunity for you to practice your oral presentation skills.

Participation    20%
Thought Papers    20%
Paper – Rough Draft    10%
Paper – Final Draft    35%
Presentation    15%
Grading Scale:

93% +         A
90 – 92 %    A-
87 – 89 %    B+
83 – 86 %    B
80 – 82 %    B-
77 – 79 %    C+
73 – 76 %    C
70 – 72 %    C-
67 – 69 %    D+
63 – 66 %    D
60 – 62 %    D-

Lecture/Assignment Schedule Overview:

Week    Date    Topic    Due
1        Introduction to class; Introduction to prejudice and stereotyping theories    
2        Stereotyping in sports: Perceiver’s perspective    Thought Paper 1
3        Within vs. between group stereotyping    Thought Paper 2
4        Dealing with stereotypes and prejudice: The targets’ perspective, Part 1    Thought Paper 3
5        Dealing with stereotypes and prejudice: The targets’ perspective, Part 2    Thought Paper 4
6        Stereotypes and Sport Choice    Thought Paper 5
7        Research paper working session & Playing Unfair Video    Research Paper – First 
          Draft of Research Paper Due
8        Race and Gender Biases in the Media    Thought Paper 6
9        Athletic Identity    Thought Paper 7
10       Presentations    Presentations Research Paper: Final Paper Due

Detailed Overview

Week 1: The psychology of prejudice, stereotyping, racism, sexism

What is the difference between prejudice, stereotyping, racism, and sexism?  Are there different types or forms of prejudice?  How might these biases play out in sporting contexts?  What can psychology, compared to other disciplines, contribute to our understanding of sport?

The course syllabus
Allport, G. (1954).  The nature of prejudice.
Ch 1- What is the problem?  
Ch 3- Formation of Ingroups
Devine, P. G. (1989). Stereotypes and prejudice: Their automatic and controlled
components. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(1), 5-18.
Fazio, R. H., & Olson, M. A. (2003). Implicit measures in social cognition
research: Their meaning and uses. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 297-327.

Optional Readings.
Gilbert, D.., Fiske, S.T. & Lindzey, G. (1998).  Stereotypes, prejudice and
discrimination.  In D. Gilbert, S. Fiske, and G. Lindzey Handbook of
Social Psychology, Ch. 25
Bodenhausen, G., Todd, A.R. & Richeson, J. (2009). Controlling Prejudice and
Stereotyping: Antecedents, Mechanisms, and Contexts. In Todd Nelson,
Ed., Handbook of Prejudice, Stereotyping, and Discrimination. Psychology Press.
Eberhardt, J. L., Goff, P. A., Purdie, V. J., & Davies, P. G. (2004). Seeing Black:
Race, representation, and visual processing. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87, 876-893.

Week 2: Stereotyping in sports: Perceiver’s perspective

How do stereotypes impact the sporting domain from the perceivers’ perspective?  Can stereotyping affect referee and game decisions?  What impact does race and gender have on fan perceptions?  How do coaches contribute to biased outcomes?  

Wolfers & Price (2008)  -- NBA Referees and Racial Bias, manuscript under review.
Mark G. Frank and Thomas Gilovich (1988).  The Dark Side of Self and Social
Perception:  Black uniforms and aggression in professional sports, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 54, 74-85.
Biernat, M., &Vescio, T.K. (2002).  She swings, she hits, she’s great, she’s
benched.  Implications of gender based shifting standards for judgments and behaviors. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 66-77.
Branscombe, N.R., Wann, D.L., Noel J.G. & Coleman, J. (1993).  Ingroup or
outgroup extremity: Importance of the threatened social identity.  
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 19, 381-388.

Optional Readings.
Stone, J., Perry, Z., & Darley, J. (1997).  “White men can’t jump”: Evidence for
perceptual confirmation of racial stereotypes following a basketball game.  Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 27, 279-305.
Coakley, J. (2007).  Sports in Society:  Issues and Controversies (9th Ed.). New    
York, NY: McGraw Hill.   
Chapter 8- Gender and Sports: Does Equity Require Ideological Changes?
Chapter 9 - Race and Ethnicity: Are They Important in Sports?

Week 3: Within vs. between group stereotyping and sports

Do we treat all outgroup members the same?  Are there differences in stereotyping and prejudice within a specific racial or gender group?  What are stereotypicality effects?

Kahn, K.B. – Stereotypicality effects (2008)– abridged chapter on Stereotypicality
Sczesny, S., Spreemann, S., & Stahlberg, D. (2006). Masculine = competent?
Physical appearance and sex as sources of gender-stereotypic attributions. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 65, 15-23.

Optional Readings.
Maddox, K. B. (2004).  Perspectives of racial phenotypicality bias.  Personality
and Social Psychology Review, 8, 383-401.
Eberhardt, J. L., Davies, P. G., Purdie-Vaughns, V. J. Johnson, S. L. (2006).
Looking deathworthy: Perceived stereotypicality of Black defendants predicts capital-sentencing outcomes. Psychological Science, 17, 383-386.
Ko, S. J., Judd, C. M., & Blair, I. V. (2006). What the voice reveals: Within- and
between-category stereotyping on the basis of voice. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 806-819.

Week 4: Dealing with stereotypes and prejudice: The targets’ perspective – Part 1

How are athletes’ performance negatively affected by stereotypes and prejudice?  What is stereotype threat? Are stigmatized group members the only ones affected by stereotype threat?

Beilock, S.L., & McConnell, A.R. (2004).  Stereotype threat and sports.  Can
athletic performance be threatened? Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 26, 597-609.
Stone, J. (2002).  Battling doubt by avoiding practice: The effects of stereotype
threat on self-handicapping in white athletes.  Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 1667-1678.
Stone, J., Lynch, C. I., Sjomeling, M., & Darley, J. M. (1999). Stereotype threat
effects on Black and White athletic performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 1213-1227.
Schmalz, D. L., Kerstetter, D. L., & Anderson, D. M. (2008). Stigma consciousness as a predictor of children's participation in recreational vs. competitive sports. Journal of Sport Behavior, 31(3), 276-297.

Optional Readings.
Chalabaev, A., Sarrazin, P., Stone, J., & Cury, F. (2008). Do achievement goals
mediate stereotype threat?: An investigation on females' soccer
performance. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 30(2), 143-158.
Steele, C. M. (1997). A threat in the air: How stereotypes shape intellectual
identity and performance. American Psychologist, 52, 613-629.
Solomon, G. et al. (1996). Expectancies and ethnicity:  The self-fulfilling
prophecy in college basketball. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 18, 83-88.
Stone, J., Perry, Z., & Darley, J. (1997). “White men can’t jump”:  Evidence for
the perceptual confirmation of racial stereotypes following a basketball game. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 19(3), 291-306.

Week 5: Dealing with stereotypes and prejudice: The targets’ perspective – Part 2

Can positive stereotypes help performance?  What are the long term affects of stereotype threat and stereotype lift on athletes?  How can stereotype threat be reduced?

Walton, G. M., & Cohen, G. L. (2003). Stereotype lift.  Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology, 39, 456–467.
Davies, P. G., Spencer, S. J., Quinn, D. M. & Gerhardstein, R. (2002). Consuming
images: How television commercials that elicit stereotype threat can restrain women academically and professionally. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 28, 1615-1620.
Mendoza-Denton, R., Kahn, K.B., & Chan, W. (2008).  Can fixed views of ability boost performance in the context of favorable stereotypes?  Journal of Experimental Social Psychology,44, 1187-1193.
Johns, M., Schmader, T. & Martens, A. (2005). Knowing is half the battle:
Teaching stereotype threat as a means of improving women's math performance. Psychological Science, 16, 175-179.

Optional Readings.
Shapiro, J. R. & Neuberg, S. L. (2007). From stereotype threat to stereotype
threats: Implications of a multi-threat framework for causes moderators,
mediators, consequences, and interventions. Personality and Social  Psychology Review, 11, 107-130.


Week 6: Stereotypes & Sport Choice

How do stereotypes impact the sports we chose to participate in?  What about the positions we want to play?  Why are some sports full of predominately White athletes and some predominantly Black athletes?  What are the psychological processes behind these choices?

Bivens, S., & Leonard, W.M (1994).  Race, centrality, and educational
attainment: An NFL Perspective.  Journal of Sport Behavior,17, 24-42.
Loy, J.W. & McElvogue, J.F.(1970).  Racial integration in American sport.
International Review of Sport Psychology, 5, 5-24.
Jones, J. M. & Hochner, A. R. (1973). Racial differences in sports activities: A
look at the self-paced versus reactive hypothesis. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 27, 86-95.

Optional Readings.
Hallinan, C.J. (1991). Aborigines and positional segregation in Australian rugby
league.  International Review of Sociology of Sport, 26, 69-79.
Johnson, B.D., & Johnson, N.R. (1995).  Stacking and “stoppers”:  A test of the
outcome control hypothesis.  Sociology of Sport Journal, 12, 105-112.

Week 7:  Research Paper Working Session & Video

During this session, students will turn in a draft of their research paper which will be peer reviewed by two class members.  

During this session, the class will also watch Playing Unfair, a documentary on media representations of women athletes.  This video will help set up the topic and readings for next week’s class.

Week 8: Race and gender biases in the media

How do the media both contribute to, as well as reflect, cultural biases regarding athletes?  How are male and female athletes represented differently?  What is the psychological impact of this biased media representation on athletes and non-athletes?

Shifflett, B. & Revelle, R. (1994).  Gender equity in Sports media coverage: A
review of the NCAA News.  Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 18, 144-150.
Daniels, E. Images of Women Athletes: Do They Exist in Magazines Adolescent
Girls Read? Dissertation masuscript.
Grainger, A., Newman, J. I., & Andrews, D. L. (2006). Sport, the media, and the
construction of race. In A. A. Raney, & J. Bryant (Eds.), Handbook of sports and media. (pp. 447-467). Mahwah, NJ, US: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Optional Readings.

Buysse, J. and Embser-Herbert, M. (2004). Constructions of gender in sport:  An
analysis of intercollegiate media guide cover photographs. Gender and Society, 18(1), 66-81.
Duncan, M.C., Messner, M.A., & Williams, L.  (1991).  Coverage of women’s
sports in four daily newspapers.  Los Angeles, CA:  Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles.
Kane, M.J., & Greendorfer, S.L. (1994).  The media’s role in accommodating and
resisting stereotyped images of women in sport.  In P.J. Creedon (Ed.), Women, media and sport (pp. 28-44).  Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Hardin, M., Simpson, S., Whiteside, E. & Garris, K. (2007). The gender war in
U.S. sport: Winners and losers in news coverage of  Title IX.  Mass
Communication and Society, 10, 211-233.

Week 9: Athletic Identity  

What is athletic identity and how is it developed?  What is the relationship of athletic identity to gender and racial identity?  What are the consequences of athletic identity?  When do these social identities come into conflict?

Brewer, B.W., Van Raalte, J.L., & Linder, D.E.  (1993). Athletic identity:
Hercules’ muscles or Achilles heel?  International Journal of Sport Psychology, 24, 237-254.
Marovelli, E. & Crawford, S.A. (1987). Mass media influence on female high
school athletes' identification with professional athletes.  International Journal of Sport Psychology, 18, 231-236.
Simons, H.D., Bosworth, C., Fuijita, S., & Jensen, M. (2007). The Athlete Stigma
In Higher Education.  College Student Journal, 41, 251-273.

Optional Readings.
Coakley, J., & Donnelly, P.  (1999).  Experience and identity: Becoming an
athlete.  In J. Coakley & P. Donnelly (Eds.), Inside sports (pp. 61-125).  New York:
Kleiber, D.A., & Kirshnit, C.E.  (1991).  Sport involvement and identity
formation.  In L. Diamant (Ed.), Mind-body maturity: Psychological approaches to sports, exercise, and fitness (pp.193-211).  New York: Hemisphere Publishing Company.
Bowker, A., Gabdois, S., & Cornock, B. (2003). Sports participation and self-
esteem:  Variations as a function of gender and gender role orientation. Sex Roles, 49 (1/2), 47-58.

Week 10: Class presentations

During this class, students will give an oral presentation to the class discussing
their research paper and proposed experiment.

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