Module code: PSY3120

Module Overview

We will discuss a number of key theories and debates in the social psychological study of gender. Key topics include gender identity, gender stereotypes, gender in applied settings such as the workplace, contemporary forms of sexism, sexual and self-objectification. Across the course, we will discuss key debates within the field. For example, arguments surround the evolutionary versus social constructed nature of gender and related behaviours (i.e. sex and relationships), binary versus fluid conceptualisation of gender identity, and the influence of prescriptive versus descriptive gender stereotypes. The course will have a social psychological focus, but where appropriate, will draw on some interdisciplinary perspectives (e.g. gender in leadership and work, feminism and resisting inequality).

Module provider


Module Leader

HOPKINS-DOYLE Aife (Psychology)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 30

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 128

Lecture Hours: 22

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

BSC Psychology Levels 4 and 5 (or equivalent). 

Module content

Indicative content includes:

The module will consist of 2-hour sessions divided between lecture and seminar formats which will focus on the following topics:

Week 1: Introduction

  • Ridgeway, C. L., & Correll, S. J. (2004). Unpacking the gender system. A theoretical perspective on gender beliefs and social relation. Gender and Society, 18, 510-531

  • Rudman, L. A & Glick, P. (2010). Chapter 2: Power and interdependence. The social psychology of gender: How power and intimacy shape gender relations. New York: The Guildford Press


Week 2: Understanding gender identity

  • Morgenroth, T., & Ryan, M. K. (2018). Gender Trouble in Social Psychology: How can Butler’s work inform experimental social psychologists’ conceptualization of gender? Frontiers in Psychology, 9, 1320.

  • Lindqvist, A., Sendén, M. G., & Renström, E. A. (2020). What is gender, anyway: a review of the options for operationalising gender. Psychology & Sexuality, 1-13.


Week 3: Gender stereotyping: how we are, and how we should to be? 

  • Ellemers, N. (2018). Gender stereotypes. Annual Review of Psychology, 69, 275-298.

  • Prentice, D. A., & Carranza, E. (2002). What women should be, shouldnʹt be, are allowed to be, and donʹt have to be: The contents of prescriptive gender stereotypes. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 26(4), 269‐281

Week 4: Sexism in contemporary societies: the benevolent side of inequality

  • Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (2001). An ambivalent alliance: Hostile and benevolent sexism as complementary justifications. American Psychologist, 56, 109‐118.

  • Hopkins-Doyle, A., Sutton, R. M., Douglas, K., & Calogero, R. M. (2019). Flattering to deceive: Why people misunderstand Benevolent Sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116(2), 167–192.


Week 5: Maternal sacrifice: gender and reproductive rights

  • Rothman, B. K. (2016). Beyond mothers and fathers: Ideology in a patriarchal society. In E. N. Glenn, G. Chang, & L. R. Forcey (Eds.) Mothering: Ideology, experience and agency (pp. 139-157). New York: Routledge.

  • Sutton, R. M., Douglas, K. M., & McClellan, L. M. (2011). Benevolent sexism, perceived health risks, and the inclination to restrict pregnant women’s freedoms. Sex roles, 65(7-8), 596-605.


Week 6: Sexual and Self Objectification

  • Fredrickson, B. L., Roberts, T. A., Noll, S. M., Quinn, D. M., & Twenge, J. M. (1998). That swimsuit becomes you: sex differences in self-objectification, restrained eating, and math performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75(1), 269.

  • Loughnan, S., & Pacilli, M. G. (2014). Seeing (and treating) others as sexual objects: toward a more complete mapping of sexual objectification. TPM: Testing, Psychometrics, Methodology in Applied Psychology, 21(3), 309-325.


Week 7: Sexual relationships & sexual exchange

  • Baumeister, R. F., & Vohs, K. D. (2004). Sexual economics: Sex as female resource for social exchange in heterosexual interactions. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 8(4), 339-363.

  • Kahalon, R., Bareket, O., Vial, A. C., Sassenhagen, N., Becker, J. C., & Shnabel, N. (2019). The Madonna-whore dichotomy is associated with patriarchy endorsement: Evidence from Israel, the United States, and Germany. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 43(3), 348-367.


Week 8: Gender in action: leadership and work

  • Ryan, M. K., & Haslam, S. A. (2005). The glass cliff: Evidence that women are over‐represented in precarious leadership positions. British Journal of Management, 16(2), 81-90.

  • Derks, B., van Laar, C., & Ellemers, N., (2016). The queen bee phenomenon: Why women leaders distance themselves from junior women. The Leadership Quarterly, 27, 456-469.


Week 9: Resisting inequality: Feminism and political participation

  • Radke, H. R., Hornsey, M. J., & Barlow, F. K. (2016). Barriers to women engaging in collective action to overcome sexism. American Psychologist, 71(9), 863-874.

  • Hopkins-Doyle, A., Petterson, A. L., Sutton, R. M.  [….] & Zibell, H. (In prep). The misandry myth: Why feminists do not hate men and why people think they do. 


Week 10: Is masculinity precarious? 

  • Vandello, J. A., Bosson, J. K., Cohen, D., Burnaford, R. M., & Weaver, J. R. (2008). Precarious manhood. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 95, 1325–1339. doi:10.1037/a0012453

  • Levant, R. (1992). Toward the reconstruction of masculinity. Journal of Family Psychology, 5, 379– 402.


Week 11:  Critical questions in gender research & Recap

  • Goff, P. A., & Kahn, K. B. (2013). How psychological science impedes intersectional thinking. Du Bois Review: Social Science Research on Race, 10(2), 365-384.

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation Group presentation & discussion 40
Coursework Critical Essay 60

Alternative Assessment

Students to complete the presentation on an individual basis

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate:

Presentation & Discussion (40%)
Students will work in small groups to prepare and present an empirical research paper (one per topic). Successful completion of this assessment will demonstrate students’ ability to describe, analyse, and critically evaluate key topics in the social psychology of gender (LO 1 and 2) and to communicate complex concepts and research findings in a concise and clear way (LO 4). Students should create a 15 minute powerpoint presentation describing the research paper (theoretical background, hypotheses, methods, results), critically evaluate the work, and suggest future directions/extensions. Students should finish with a critical discussion question for the class, which will facilitate further discussion in respect of the topic.

Critical Essay (6 pages, 60%)
Students will choose one essay title from three options. Each essay questions relates to one of the key topics on this course. Successful completion of this assessment will demonstrate students’ ability to describe, analyse, and critically evaluate key topics in the social psychology of gender (LO 1 and 2), and demonstrate their independent thought and argumentation through written evaluation (LO 3)

Formative assessment & Feedback

Students will receive formative assessment through discussion questions during lectures, and in-class discussion during seminars.


Students will receive verbal feedback during and after the lectures, and written feedback on their assignments (including presentations). Discussion boards will be available on Surreylearn.

Module aims

  • Introduce students to key topics and critical debates in the social psychological study of gender
  • Develop an in-depth appreciation and understanding of the ways in which gender influences self and others’ perceptions, and associated relational, occupational and political outcomes.
  • Enable students’ to develop of an independent ability to think, critique, and reflect on the theories, concepts, and method used in the social psychological study of gender
  • Develop students’ verbal and written communication skills through presentation and critical appraisal

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Describe and synthesize theory and research on the social psychology of gender K
002 Analyse and critically evaluate social psychological research of gender, with a particular focus on methods, measurement, and theory C
003 Develop independent thought, critical analysis and argumentation through written evaluation CP
004 Communicate complex concepts and research findings verbally PT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:

• Acquire knowledge about the social psychological study of gender.
• Develop an understanding of the key topics and debates in the social psychology of gender.
• Develop verbal and written skills of analysis, critique and argumentation.
• Enable and promote independent learning and thought.

The learning and teaching methods include:

22 contact hours and 128 hours of independent study (reading and developing assignments).

The contact hours will be comprised of 11 two-hour sessions. The majority of the sessions (9 sessions) will include a one hour oral presentation followed by group activities and class discussion (e.g., presentation and discussion of research articles; critical reviewing; classroom exercises).

Two sessions will be dedicated to presentation preparation and recap/assignment preparation respectively.

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: PSY3120

Other information

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the International Engagement Office email:


Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Psychology BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2020/1 academic year.