What constitutes a scientific review? - A majority retort to Barrett and Morris

Susan T. Fiske, Donald N. Bersoff, Eugene Borgida, Kay Deaux, Madeline E. Heilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Scopus citations

Abstract

Barrett and Morris attack the American Psychological Association amicus brief in Price Waterhouse vs. Hopkins as failing to adhere to the values of science in three respects. First they claim that the amicus used theories in convenient but logically inconsistent ways. A straightforward reading of the theories indicates that Barrett and Morris simply confuse the descriptive (e.g., "women typically are incompetent") and prescriptive (e.g. "women should be nice") aspects of gender stereotypes. Second, Barrett and Morris claim that APA used facts disputed by the employer, thereby biasing the brief. However, these facts were accepted at all levels of the court system, thereby establishing them as "fact" for the record, to which the Supreme Court and the APA were then bound. Third, Barrett and Morris claim the amicus literature review was biased. Yet, rather than support that claim with a full review, they present highly selected results that are biased, incomplete, misleading, and inaccurate. Moreover, independent, quantitative reviews undertaken since the brief support its central arguments and dispute the Barrett-Morris interpretations. In short, none of their arguments are supported. I. Empirical research on sex stereotyping has been conducted over many decades and is generally accepted in the scientific community. II. Stereotyping under certain conditions can create discriminatory consequences for stereotyped groups, including women. A. Stereotypes about women shape perceptions about woment's typical and acceptable roles in society. B. Sex stereotypes have demonstrably negative effects on women in work settings. III. The conditions that promote stereotyping were present in the petittioner's work setting. IV. Although petitioner was found to have taken no effective steps to prevent its discriminatory stereotyping of respondent, methods are available to monitor and reduce the effects of stereotyping. (American Psychological Association, 1991)

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)217-233
Number of pages17
JournalLaw and Human Behavior
Volume17
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 1993

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