Animal Studies Bibliography

Lash, Steven J. and James A Polyson. 1987. The Gender Relevance of Projected Animal Content. Journal of Clinical Psychology 43(1): 145-150.

Previous research suggests that animal images in individual (dreams, etc.) and group (fairy tales, etc.) narratives symbolize personality themes and issues and are psychologically meaningful for all age groups (145). One study suggests that animal images represent important people in one's life, particularly the mother and father. A study of children suggests that some animals represent sex roles, while others are gender-neutral. This study assesses whether these hypothesized associations exist empirically. [No hypothesis given.]

Independent variables/operational definitions : sex; visualizing ability (measured with VVIQ--Vividness of Visual Imagery Questionnaire; weak visualizers = lowest quartile; strong visualizers = highest quartile)

Dependent variables/operational definitions : gendered content of animal imagery (questionnaire lists 93 animals in random order; subjects asked to visualize each animal as vividly as possible and report whether the animal they see is more likely a male or a female)

Findings : Significant at at least to .05 level, 54 animals were perceived as male, 13 as female, and 26 had no gender association. Of the 67 animals with a gender, 61 were significant at the .001 level. In short, then, most animals are perceived as having a gender, and most are considered male (58%) and a minority are female (14%). The male animals were: abalone, amoeba, ant, ape, bacteria, bat, bear, beaver, buffalo, bug, bull, centipede, chipmunk, cockroach, colt, crab, crawfish, crocodile, crow, dog, donkey, eagle, eel, fly, flying fish, frog, germ, grasshopper, insect, lion, lizard, lobster, monkey, mosquito, owl, penguin, rat, reptile, rodent, scarab, scorpion, shark, snake, spider, squid, sting ray, tiger, turkey, turtle, vulture, walrus, wasp, wolf, and worm. The female animals were: bird, butterfly, cat, chicken, cow, deer, dolphin, furry animal, kangaroo, moth, lamb, seal, and sheep. Animals with nonsignificant gender associations were: albatross, bee, beetle, calf, caterpillar, cell, cub, dragon fly, duck, elephant, fish, fox, heron, horse, jellyfish, mouse, octopus, oyster, parrot, pig, sea animal, sea gull, sea horse, shrimp, snail, and toy dog. These associations were generally offered equally by men and women. In no cases did men assign one gender and women assign another to the same animal. There were 15 animals significantly gender associated by one sex but not significant for the other sex--only males considered the chipmunk, colt, and tiger male, and only females felt that abalone, amoeba, ant, centipede, flying fish, jellyfish, mosquito, scarab, spider, and turkey were male. Females but not males felt dolphins were female. Males but not females felt that moths were female. Results also did not vary between weak and strong visualizers. Comparing these associations to those hypothesized by Phillips & Smith (1953) from Rosarch tests, 12 of their 26 gender associations match the findings of the present study (ape, bear, buffalo, bull, eagle, monkey, tiger, butterfly, cow, deer, lamb, and sheep), 6 have no significant gender association in the present study (horse (was male in P&S), and calf, cub, fish, octopus, and toy dog, all of which were female in P&S), and 8 are associated with a different gender than they are in the present study (bug, colt, crab, lobster, scarab, scorpion, spider, and worm). While 7 of 8 of P&S's male associations were confirmed by this study, only 5 of the 18 female associations were. This may be due to sex role changes since P&S's report was published. The predominance of male associations may be part of the general social tendency to assign male gender to ambiguous cases. Further study should give the option for subjects to rate an animal as neither male nor female and should be expanded to other age and cultural groups. The extent of the gender associations, however, suggests that further study is warranted and should be extended to examine how these images are connected to sex role issues.

Sample/population sampled : 100 intro. psych. students (50 male, 50 female) from U. of Richmond, for partial fulfillment of research participation requirement.




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