This page is still a work in progress…
The Gender of the Researcher
Psychologists have known for a while that the gender of the interviewer affects how people respond to questions. However, a growing body of research is showing that the effect of gender on research is more pervasive than otherwise thought. For example, in recent experiments on the effects of oxytocin, two labs got entirely different results. The explanation? Oxytocin affect behavior differently if the interviewer and interviewee are of the opposite sex (and heterosexual). One lab didn’t control for this effect leading to a mistaken causal conclusion.
Other examples include the fact that men perform better on IQ tests if the experimenter is female. Men also report lower levels of pain (relative to male experimenters) if the experimenter is female. (I’ll let you figure out why).
In short, if a study where it might be relevant doesn’t control for the effects of gender, we may have false conclusions about what’s causing the results.