The Psychological Record

, Volume 67, Issue 1, pp 121–130 | Cite as

An Investigation into the Relationship between the Gender Binary and Occupational Discrimination Using the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure

  • Aoife CartwrightEmail author
  • Ian Hussey
  • Bryan Roche
  • Jenny Dunne
  • Carol Muphy
Original Article


The social construction of gender-as-binary plays an important role within many contemporary theories of gender inequality. However, to date, the field of psychology has struggled with the operationalization and assessment of binarist ideologies. The current article proposes a technical framework for the analysis of the gender binary and assesses the suitability of the Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure (IRAP) as a measure of binarist gender beliefs. Forty-seven undergraduate students (26 female; M age = 23.84) completed two IRAPs assessing the coordination of certain traits exclusively with women and others exclusively with men. Effects found on the IRAP were in the expected direction (i.e., relating men but not women with certain traits and women but not men with other traits). In addition, the traits ascribed to men within the IRAP were evaluated as more hirable by a large majority of participants (83%) on an explicit preference task. The results therefore support the arguments that, first, gender traits do seem to be framed oppositionally in language and, second, this binary may underpin existing gender hierarchies in certain contexts.


Gender binarism Relational Frame Theory gender discrimination Implicit Relational Assessment Procedure 



This research was partly funded by a Maynooth University John and Pat Hume scholarship awarded to the first author for doctoral research conducted under the supervision of the third author.

Compliance with Ethical Standards


This research was funded by a Maynooth University John and Pat Hume research scholarship awarded to the first author.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyMaynooth UniversityKildareIreland
  2. 2.Ghent UniversityGhentBelgium

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