ANYWAY. One of the things I want to look at is what exactly are the messages that manage to get through and why? What makes a successful campaign or movement? So I thought I’d check back in on what SCIENCE had to say, and, well, science is being his usual self and yes that generic male is deliberate do you know who you’re talking to.
I’ve been revisiting some old behavioural science papers and it’s striking how many of them don’t sex-disaggregate their data or do any gender analysis. Somehow I didn’t notice this when I first read them about eight years ago – but I sure am noticing now.
For eg Cass Sunstein (yes, he of Nudge
fame), who in 1999 wrote the highly-cited paper “The Law of Group Polarisation
.” It’s a great paper, extremely prescient about social media (“It is therefore plausible to speculate that the Internet may be serving, for many, as a breeding group for extremism” – ya don’t say, Cass), but something that really struck me was how easily Sunstein slips from “men” to “people” when describing classic experiments that were exclusively conducted on men – that is when he mentions the sex of participants at all (I checked those studies and they were still all male).
Still, for the most part, the classic studies were conducted in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, when famously there were no women, so we can be a bit more lenient here perhaps.
NB: Do any GFPs work in behavioural science? Please do hmu if so I’d love to talk to you about behavioural science and sex/gender!