14 March 2015

Systemising and Empathising across The Republic of Armenia and The United States

The Tutor King of Hampton Court is very pleased to share a preview copy of his newest work Sex, Culture, Cognition & Career Choice: Investigating the Influence of Culture on Baron-Cohen’s E-quotient and S-quotient among Americans and Armenians.
Many people hold the traditional view that women are more empathising, nurturing and caring than men.  Also that men are born to be more technically-minded than women.  It can appear as if girls were born to care for dollies while boys were genetically engineered to play with trucks and blocks.  Click here to download the file.

Well my most recent research suggests otherwise.

I argue that the whole process of gendered behaviours is a result of cultural influences.  For my MA research, I surveyed Armenians and compared these wonderful people to Americans.  Previous research has suggested that women in Armenia are more systemising because in the 1990s and 2000s, women made up the vast majority of computer science college programmes, while in America, women only make up 15%.

What I found when I collected scores of empathising and systemising was that cultural differences influenced how systemising women were!  The gender gap in systemising was twice as large for Americans as it was for Armenians.

But the real surprise was that there were no gender differences in empathising at all!  Culture was the only difference, as Armenians were more empathetic than Americans, but within each culture, men were not statistically different from women in identifying others' emotions and responding accordingly.  
So why do so many studies say the opposite?  Well I suggest that these studies are flawed, usually sampling university students in very divisive college programmes that make them identify stronger with their scientific or humanistic disciplines.  In reality, when people grow older and take jobs that are not so polarised, they actually equal out in their ability to be emotionally minded.

This work is the result of my research I did to earn my MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture. 


Please, have a read of my cross-cultural psychology article.  If you would like to reference it in your research, go right ahead.  Just acknowledge that it is currently under review with the Journal of Gender Studies.  And if you want to talk to me about any comments or feedback you have about this piece of work, go ahead and email me at Tavis.King@TheTutorKing.com.

 Click here to download the file.

Abstract
The present study reviews the debate of essential sex differences forwarded by Simon Baron-Cohen and the neuroconstructivism argument made by Cordelia Fine. Moreover, this study also examined sex differences in systemising and empathising across Armenia and the United States. Cultural differences in empathising and systemising were hypothesised based on the historically high numbers of female computer science graduates in Armenia, indicating a female preference for systemising. First, it was hypothesised that nationality would predict empathising and systemising while controlling for sex; second, that nationality would moderate the association between sex and systemising, with American males showing higher levels of systemising compared to American females and Armenian females showing equal or greater levels of systemising compared to Armenian males; and third, that nationality would predict differences in empathising and systemising while controlling for sex and empathising/systemising professions. Results revealed that Armenians were more empathising than Americans, with no sex differences within either culture; that men were more systemising across cultures, however, nationality moderated the association between sex and systemising, with a systemising gender gap greater for Americans than for Armenians; and that across the USA and Armenia, there were no differences in professions for empathising and systemising cognitions. Implications regarding the evidence of cross-cultural differences in systemising and empathising are discussed and support Fine’s neuroconstructivism argument. For instance, it is proposed that Armenians are more empathising than Americans because their culture derives greater happiness from natural harmony and relationships whereas Americans find happiness through career aspirations and intellectual autonomy. Also, it is suggested that gender theorists should consider further exploring the language problem of Baron-Cohen’s hypothesised use of language as either empathising (pragmatic language) or systemising (abstract systemising). Furthermore, this study calls for additional cross-cultural studies to find for nations where females are equal or greater to men in systemising-mindedness.


 Click here to download the file.

20 January 2015

SPSS tuition for Psychology Dissertations: Bachelor's and Master's Degree Students

Did you know that The Tutor King of Hampton Court can also help you with your SPSS data analysis?

Available online or in person, The Tutor King can help you with:
  • Data Cleaning to deal with Missing Data Sets
  • Calculating and Recoding New Variables
  • Descriptive Statistics
  • Reliability Analysis
  • Factor Analysis
  • Writing Research Questions, Aims and Hypotheses.
  • Reporting Results in APA Writing Style
Don't wait to the last minute to get your statistics right.  Begin analysis today, the right way by calling The Tutor King of Hampton Court!

23 December 2014

New Clients for Spring Term and Skype Tuition

The Tutor King of Hampton Court is currently accepting new A-Level students for Psychology (AQA and OCR), Philosophy (AQA), Sociology (AQA) and Religious Studies (AQA and OCR).

Also, we're pleased to announce that as a trial, the Tutor King is offering Skype Tuition lessons for £20 per hour!  This is a huge discount on private tuition and offers greater flexibility for students who need tuition at times that suit busy schedules.


I often say, too many students wait until the last minute for tuition and hope it will bring about miracles before exams.  Don't wait, get in touch today and prepare early!

9 September 2014

Information for New Clients: Academic Year 2014-2015

Hello!  Welcome to The Tutor King of Hampton Court.  This previous year has been a very difficult and challenging year, not just for yours truly, but also for my A-level students from the 2013-2014 academic year.  With no exams taking place in December, many had to study hard to remember twice as much for double the exams.  It was a real challenge for A-level students everywhere.  However, we persevered and I would like to congratulate my students for performing wonderfully.  Similar to last year, I met my students when they had C’s, D’s, U’s and F’s brought forward from the previous year, but I also had a few students who I met who wanted tutoring to help keep them on top of their game in order to maintain their A’s and B’s.  I would like to take this time and wish a heartfelt “Good Luck” to my 4 learners who finished the year and start University this month.  I would also like to congratulate Danny, who has accepted a place at University of Liverpool to study in their Psychology programme, which he was inspired to do after reading this blog!

In other news, I’m just finishing off my second master’s degree at Birkbeck College, which is an MA in Gender, Sexuality and Culture.  It was a difficult year working outside of my psychological comfort zone.  But once again, with a bit of hard work and flexibility I have finished my dissertation (only yesterday) and plan to submit on 26 September 2014.  This will be great news for A-level students seeking to take Gender as part of their Unit 3 Psychology Special Topics.  In addition to this, I am very proud to announce that I will be studying my Ph.D. part-time at Brunel University.  I will be studying how cultural values influence the association between parental acceptance/rejection and internalised homophobia.  I haven’t picked my nations yet, but I’m thinking about the UK, Mexico, India, South Africa and Japan as candidates.  My supervisor will be Dr. Tara Marshall and I cannot wait to start work in January!

Now, for information for new clients.  I have confirmed my teaching schedule at Surrey Adult Learning and I will be able to see private tutoring clients on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  Also, I have expanded my A-level lesson plans.  So in addition to teaching AQA Psychology AS & A2 for “A” and “B”, I am also teaching OCR Philosophy of Religion.  So I’m going to try to mix a bit of religious studies into my blogs this year.  If you would like to study with me, please contact me at enquiries@thetutorking.com.

And last, but not least, I have lots of Adult Learning Classes being offered by way of Surrey Adult Learning.  If you look to the left, you will see I have added a new tab for classes offered.  So if you are unemployed, retired, have some time during the day or looking to enrich your evenings with more than telly, have a look at my lectures and classes and perhaps something will interest you.

Good luck to all my learners, young and old, for the coming academic year.  Remember what I always say:

Class is not something you arrive at.  It’s something you bring with you.

4 August 2014

Criticisms of Connellan, Baron-Cohen, Wheelwright, Batki and Ahluwalia's "Sex differences in human neonatal social perception" (2006)

So I wrote the following for my dissertation and realized that it was all wrong and it was too much me talking, not enough of my researchers talking.  I was getting personal.  So its been ripped out of my dissertation and put on the blog for your reading pleasure.

These are methodological criticisms and alternatives in regards to Connellan et al. (2006).  For any of this to make sense, you will need to follow this link and read the original paper.


However, to give you the gist of what's going on, Connellan et al., did a study where the experimenter used her own face as stimuli for empathising.  This has been criticised by Cordelia Fine and others as poor experimental methodology as her face could have unconsciously moved eliciting more face-looking time from females, while her hand could have unconsciously moved the mobile around to encourage more looking time from males.  I address criticisms and methodological alternatives.


With due respect to Ms. Connellan’s physical appearance, all babies show preference for attractive faces over unattractive faces (Langlois, Ritter, Roggman, & Vaughn, 1991).  Resulting differences then may simply be that for female infants, Connellan’s face was marginally more attractive than an alien mobile and for male infants, Connellan’s face was marginally less attractive than the alien mobile.  In this way, evaluating attractiveness may also be in relation to the position the infant was in when the stimuli were presented: with the infant lying on their back or sat upright in their mother’s lap (Fine, 2010). 
            
Also, there is evidence that infants show preferential facial recognition for the gender of the primary caregiver at 3 and 4 months (Quinn, Yahr, Kuhn, Slater & Pascalis, 2002).  While the aim of the study presented by Connellan et al. was to show that socialisation had not taken place at one-day-old, it seems probable that the infants were in contact with both of their parents for the first 24-hours of life and thus, socialisation did begin before the experiment took place.  Again, it seems odd that only a female’s face, Connellan’s, was presented as stimuli for empathising.  If an infant experienced greater contact with the father in their first day of life (e.g., fathers who are holding their infants while their mothers get some well-deserved rest), this would confound the results by Connellan et al.  As Connellan is female, this would confound the results if infants who were in greater contact with their mothers in their first day preferred looking at her face over and above infants who had greater contact with their fathers.  This is a confounding variable that could have been easily controlled for if Connellan et al. premeditated a male experimenter to present his face to half the infants while Connellan’s showed her face to the other half. 

Furthermore, there is the question of the stimuli medium, itself.  For the study, Connellan et al. found that using an arts-and-crafts project (the alien mobile) was an acceptable approximation for systemising, while using Connellan’s flesh-and-blood face as a measurement for empathising.  The original study notes in regards to the face stimuli that “[Connellan’s] hair was tied back, she wore no make-up or jewelry, and the face was positioned 20 cms above the subject. She adopted a positive, pleasant emotional expression, while remaining silent. Movement of her head was natural, while continuously facing the infant” while in regards to the mobile, “ The mobile itself was attached to a stick 1m in length, and was held above the infant’s head, at the same viewing distance (20 cm). The mobile moved with mechanical motion, since any movement of the larger ball caused the smaller ball to move contingently.” The question then, is that if an object held on a stick was acceptable for the systemising approximation, why then would the empathising stimuli not be like-for-like?  That is to say, a cut-out puppet of Connellan’s face and attached to a stick in lieu of her own real face could have been enough of a contrast to the alien mobile to approximate for empathising.  Or perhaps, if a cut-out were too static for empathising to take place and if an artistic element was important, a 3-D mask of Connellan’s face could have been used as well.  The idea being that both options are an improvement over Connellan’s real face because the art projects could be controlled for movements as opposed to the movements in Connellan’s real face which were not adequately controlled for.  

23 July 2014

Philosophy of Religion Course - Surrey Adult Learning

Hello Readers!


Are you all having a good summer?  I hope so.  I've been very busy locked into my flat, splitting my time between analysing my data for my newest psychology experiment and lesson planning my new class for Surrey Adult Learning: Philosophy and Religion.

One thing that always surprises me is how often people assume that because I'm a psychologist I have automatically shut off exploring the world of religion and philosophy.  Would it surprise you to know that actually it was a core part of my Bachelors degree in psychology?  The critical thinking skills are invaluable to psychological thinking and remember, before psychology existed, philosophy of religion was the primary way to explain for human behaviour.

Whether you are a person of faith or not, there is a great deal to be learned from the Philosophy underpinning the belief in a higher power.  If you would like to learn more about this course, please have a look at my Facebook Event I created with the link below.

Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to be posting discussion questions to start debating and get people thinking on Facebook.  


Feel free to drop me a line if ever you want to say hi.  I'm terribly bored waiting for September to come around again so I would love to hear from you.

9 April 2014

AQA “A” AS Unit 1; Chapter 1 & 2: Models of Memory Practice Worksheet

I kind of surprised myself as this worksheet I designed has turned out to be a very simple but useful resources for memorizing the models of memory.

To A-level students I remind you, in your exam drawing accurate diagrams is credit worthy as long as your diagram is accurate, well described and has a title.  I think the models of memory unit is difficult, so get in touch with your artistic side and start by labeling the models and then move on to drawing them from scratch!

Download the worksheet here!