Syllabus for Psychology 479/Women's Studies 471

Syllabus for PSYCH 479/WMNST 471:
Psychology of Gender

Dr. John A. Johnson

Fall, 2013
T&Th, 1:40-2:55


Room 146 Mary Smeal Building

Office: 172 Smeal 375-4774
Hours: T&Th 11:00-12:00 & by appointment

This syllabus and other important information are available to registered students on ANGEL, .  If you are a registered student in the course, after logging in to ANGEL, choose Psychology of Gender from the list of your courses.



The official prerequisites for PSYCH 479/WMNST 471 that are listed in the University Bulletin include PSYCH 100 (Introductory Psychology) and PSYCH 221 (Introduction to Social Psychology). Because we do not offer PSYCH 221 at Penn State DuBois, I am waiving that prerequisite. However, you should have completed PSYCH 100 or another lower-level psychology course before taking PSYCH 479/WMNST 471.


Required Textbooks:

Eagly, A. H., Beall, A. E., & Sternberg, R. J. (2004). The psychology of gender (2nd ed.). New York: Guilford Press. ISBN 1-59385-244-4 $29.00 list price.


Lippa, R. A. (2005). Gender, nature, and nurture (2nd ed.). New York: Lawrence Erlbaum, Taylor & Francis Group. ISBN 0-8058-5345-6 $34.50 list price.


Other Required Reading:

You are also required to read the following journal articles for the dates indicated in the Course Outline. They are listed in the order that we will read them. All can be accessed on ANGEL.


Hyde, J. S. (2005). The gender similarity hypothesis. American Psychologist, 60, 581-592.


Germino, E. (2009, March). Self-made man review. Unpublished paper. Downloaded from  August 14, 2009.


Crawford, M. (2004). Mars and Venus collide: A discursive analysis of marital self-help psychology.  Feminism & Psychology, 14, 63-79.


Archer, J. (1996). Sex differences in social behavior: Are the social role and evolutionary explanations compatible? American Psychologist, 51, 909-917.


Eagly, A. H. (1997). Sex differences in social behavior: Comparing social role theory and evolutionary psychology. American Psychologist, 52, 1380-1383.


Archer, J. (1997).  On the origin of sex differences in social behavior: Darwinian and non-Darwinian accounts. American Psychologist, 52, 1383-1384.





Non-Required Reading:

There is a folder on ANGEL labeled Non-Required Readings. This folder contains articles on topics covered in the course for students who are interested in studying the topics in greater depth. The nature of the 14 articles currently in the folder will be explained in class. Additional articles may be added later in the course. As the folder label indicates, read these articles only if you are interested; they are not required.

Course Objectives:

This course explores the myths and realities of gender. Specifically, we will seek answers to the following questions:

o   parenting and home life?

o   educational experiences and achievements?

o   friendships and romantic relationships?

o   experiences in the workplace and military?

o   political and economic systems?

A primary goal of this course is to increase your understanding of yourself and your relationships with those of the same and other sex. The course does address problems such as stereotyping, discrimination, economic inequality, gender-related health issues, assault, and marital/family strife. But the slant of the course is positive rather than negative. Your increased understanding of gender is meant to help you make good decisions that result in positive self-growth and relations with others.


Structure of a Typical Class:


Research indicates that students learn best when learning activities are active and collaborative. Active learning means that students do activities beyond simply listening to the instructor's lectures. Collaborative learning (sometimes called cooperative learning) means learning by interacting with other students. Collaborative learning often takes place in small groups or teams in which students work together to achieve common goals. Group participation will count toward your final grade in the course.


Prior to every class, students are expected to complete a reading and writing assignment in preparation for that class. The reading assignments from the textbooks and articles are listed in the Course Outline section of this syllabus. On days for which no reading assignment is listed, this means that we are continuing that day with the reading assignment from the previous class. For each day's reading assignment, you are expected to complete two short pieces of writing to prepare for class:

  1. Your answer to a question given to you ahead of time by your instructor. These questions, designed to assess how carefully you have read and thought about material in the reading assignment, are available in the folder on ANGEL labeled Thought Questions for Reading Assignments.
  2. A paragraph that describes an idea that you discovered in the reading (or an idea of your own that was inspired by the reading) that you consider to be noteworthy and important, with an explanation of why you consider this idea to be noteworthy and important. If you are describing one of your own ideas, make sure that you explain what in the reading led to your idea.


At the beginning of most classes, students will meet in small groups to discuss their experiences with the reading and writing assignments. In these discussions, students can learn from one another. If the discussions generate questions that the group cannot answer, the questions should be recorded to share with the rest of the class. After a period of time, I may visit the various groups to see how things are going, or I may moderate a full-class discussion of the topics for that class.


You must also email to Dr. Johnson your writing assignment before we discuss it in class to receive full credit (20 points). It is fine to prepare your written assignment in a word processor, but if you do, please copy and paste your writing directly into the body of your email rather than as an attachment. Do not forget to bring a printed copy of your writing assignment to class for your group discussion.




Grades are based on how many points you earn out of 750 possible total points. Three components will determine your grade: class participation (150 points or 20% of your grade); the quality of your writing assignments (15 assignments * 20 points each = 300 points or 40% of your grade); and your performance on the midterm and final exams (each exam contains 50 questions worth 3 points each = 150 points * 2 exams = 300 points or 40% of your grade).


Class Participation

To earn points for participation, you must demonstrate that you have prepared for each class by reading the textbook and contributing answers to the distributed questions to the small-group and whole-class discussions. To judge how well you prepare and participate, I will rely heavily on the assessment of the other members of your small group. Each member of each group will have a fixed number of points (= 10 x [number of persons - 1]) to distribute among all the other group members. If you think everyone contributes equally, you assign an equal number of points to everyone. If you think someone contributes more, and another, less, than the others, you can assign more points to the first person. Your participation score will be computed as 150 x (total points received)/(points distributed by one person).


For example, let's say four people are in your group, including you. Each person will have 30 points to distribute among the other three members. If everyone distributes their points equally, you would receive 30 points. Your participation score will be 150 x (30/30) = 150. If someone is judged to be a slacker and receives only 5 points from each of the other three group members, his or her score would be 150 x (15/30) = 75. Note that if your group members believe you contributed more than an average amount, you could actually end up with more than 150 points for participation. However, the maximum number of participation points is 165.


If, at any time, you see a serious problem with group members not contributing, please let me know and I will talk with your group to see what is going on. We will also conduct an informal assessment of participation (assigning points as per the formula above--but it won't count toward your grade) at midterm just to see how things are going. At the end of the course, if any individual's participation score seems to me too high or too low due to bias, I will talk to the group and I may adjust the participation grades.


Writing Assignments

Each writing assignment has two portions, as described earlier in the syllabus: your response to a question that I pose and your description of an important idea you acquired from the reading. You can earn up to 10 points for each of the two portions, for a total of 20 points per writing assignment.


Here are the four key things I look at when grading writing assignments.


1. Does the submitted writing follow the instructions for that assignment? Does the answer to the question really address the question, or does it wander off the topic? Is the description of an important idea from the reading really based on an idea from the reading? Does the submitted writing explain why you think the idea is important? Submitted writing must fully follow instructions to earn full credit.


2. Is the submitted writing long enough? Each of the two portions of the writing assignment should be at least one paragraph long. The most important point about length is that the writing must be long enough to properly answer the question and describe the important idea. This may require more than one paragraph in some cases. One to three sentences is NEVER sufficient to earn full credit.


3. Was thought put into the writing assignment? After nearly 30 years of teaching, I can tell instantly whether a piece of writing was dashed off in five minutes or put together carefully after some serious thought. Thoughtful answers earn more points.


4. Finally—and this is crucial—is there evidence in the submitted writing that you read and understood the reading for that topic? A good answer demonstrates understanding of the reading material by referring appropriately to ideas from the textbooks or articles. An answer that looks like it could have been written without reading the textbook or article, it will not earn full credit.


You will have 21 opportunities to submit a writing assignment based upon the reading, but you need to complete only 15 of these to receive full credit. This means that if you miss submitting an assignment for a class due to illness, traveling, or any other reason, you still have a chance to earn full credit by completing other assignments. If you complete more than 15 writing assignments, you can earn up to 40 points extra credit. Your highest 16 or 17 scores will be counted toward this portion of your grade.


Multiple Choice Examinations

The midterm and final examinations will each contain 50 multiple-choice questions built from the questions and ideas that we discuss in class. The midterm will cover information from weeks 1-7, and the final, weeks 8-15. Exams are open-book, open-notes, and will be administered on ANGEL. The final exam will be administered during finals week on a date to be announced.


Points and Letter Grades

Letter grades will be based on the total points earned:


690-750 = A

675-689 = A-

660-674 = B+

615-659 = B

600-614 = B-

585-599 = C+

525-584 = C

450-524 = D

000-449 = F

Course Outline:

Reading assignments from Lippa's Gender, Nature, and Nurture are prefaced by the name Lippa. Reading assignments from Eagly, Beall, and Sternberg's The Psychology of Gender are prefaced by the name Eagly. Required article readings, available on ANGEL, are listed by author names and dates. The 21 writing assignment due dates are indicated in parentheses (W1)-(W21).





Reading & Writing Assignments


1 T Aug 27

2 Th Aug 29 

Introduction to the course: What is gender?

History of the psychology of gender

Lippa, pp. xiii-xx
Eagly, Ch. 1

Eagly, Ch. 14 (W1)


3 T Sept 3

4 Th Sept 5 

Meta-analyses of sex differences

Meta-analyses of sex differences, continued

Lippa, Ch. 1 (W2)

Hyde (2005) (W3)


5 T Sept 10

6 Th Sept 12 

Masculinity and Femininity

Masculinity and Femininity, continued

Lippa, Ch. 2 (W4)


7 T Sept 17

8 Th Sept 19 

Levels of explanation for gender

Levels of explanation for gender, continued

Lippa, Ch. 3 (W5)


9 T Sept 24 

10 Th Sept 26 

Overview of biological explanations

Organizing effects of hormones

Lippa, Ch. 4

Eagly, Ch. 2 (W6)


11 T Oct 1

12 Th Oct 3 

Activational effects of hormones

Evolutionary explanations

Eagly, Ch. 3 (W7)

Eagly, Ch. 4 (W8)


13 T Oct 8

14 Th Oct 10

Catch up and review





15 T Oct 15

16 Th Oct 17 

Overview of social explanations

Social-cognitive view of gender development

Lippa, Ch. 5 (W9)

Eagly, Ch. 5 (W10)


17 T Oct 2

18 Th Oct 24 

Gender socialization

Psychoanalytic theories of gender

Eagly, Ch. 6 (W11)

Eagly, Ch. 7 (W12)


19 T Oct 29

20 Th Oct 31 

Relational and collective interdependence

Evaluation of "Mars-Venus" type books

Eagly, Ch. 8 (W13)
Germino (2009)

Crawford (2004) (W14)


21 T Nov 5

22 Th Nov 7

The social construction of gender

Gender as Status: An expectation states theory

Eagly, Ch. 9 (W15)

Eagly, Ch. 10 (W16)


23 T Nov 12

24 Th Nov 14 

Gender and power

Social role theory

Eagly, Ch. 11 (W17)

Eagly, Ch. 12 (W18)


25 T Nov 19

26 Th Nov 21

Cultural diversity

Nature-nurture review

Eagly, Ch. 13 (W19)

Lippa, Ch. 6 (W20)
Archer (1996)
Eagly (1997)
Archer (1997)


[T Nov 26]

[Th Nov 28]

NO CLASS! Thanksgiving vacation

NO CLASS! Thanksgiving vacation



27 T Dec 3

28 Th Dec 5 

Childrearing and education

Relationships and family issues

Lippa, Ch. 7 (W21)


29 T Dec 10

30 Th Dec 12 

Workplace issues

Politics; The military


Finals Week





Note to Students with Disabilities:


Penn State DuBois welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs.  If you have a disability-related need for modifications and/or reasonable accommodations in this course, please contact The Office for Disability Services, Diana Kreydt, 142 Smeal Building, at 372-3037 or


For further information regarding the Office of Disability Services, visit their web site at .  Instructors should be notified as early in the semester as possible regarding the need for modification and/or reasonable accommodations.


Attendance is Good—Unless You Have the Flu


Attending class is essential to doing well in the course. When you attend class, you have an opportunity to learn from both the instructor and from other students. If you often miss class, you will miss information, and your participation rating from members of your group will suffer. However, if you are ill, especially if you have flu-like symptoms, please send me an email describing your illness as soon as possible and do not come to class. Public health considerations are more important than missed work, which can be made up.


Statement of Academic Integrity:


All students are expected to act with civility, personal integrity; respect other students' dignity, rights and property; and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their own efforts. An environment of academic integrity is requisite to respect for self and others and a civil community.

Academic integrity includes a commitment to not engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Violation of academic integrity includes all of the following:

Students caught cheating on exams will receive a zero on that exam. Students caught cheating a second time and students violating academic integrity in any other way will receive an F for the course. In the case of more serious violation of any of the above points (multiple violations; organized, unauthorized, widespread distribution of exams, etc.), expulsion from the University will be recommended to the Director of Academic Affairs. Further information, including appeals processes, are described in Policy 49-20 of the current Policies and Rules for Students handbook.