Bias in psychology
It is interesting that we have a title such as ‘bias in psychology’. It seems obvious to me that everything in psychology contains some sort of bias or other, but what is remarkable is that this bias is often not acknowledged. Perhaps this is because one feature of the scientific approach in psychology is the attempt to be objective. To be objective is usually taken to mean standing apart from the subject that is being studied, and being free from bias. This might be possible if we are studying chemicals or micro-organisms, but is it possible to be objective when we are studying the behaviour and experience of people? It is difficult, if not impossible, to stand apart from the subject that is being studied when the subject is human behaviour and experience and you are a human being. In this
chapter we will look at some examples of bias in psychology, and pay particular attention to issues around cultural diversity and gender. We will start by looking at the concept of ethnocentrism.