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week 4 discussion response:Alpha and Beta Errors

By Day 6

Respond to at least one of your colleagues’ posts by agreeing or disagreeing with his or her assessments. Justify your arguments. Your response posts should also contain scholarly citations and references.

Return to this Discussion in a few days to read the responses to your initial posting. Note what you have learned and/or any insights that you have gained as a result of reading your colleagues’ comments.

Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources. Use proper APA format and citations.

Click on the Reply button below to reveal the textbox for entering your message. Then click on the Submit button to post your message.


2 days ago

avatar 150Kastina Hayes

RE: Discussion – Week 4


Main Question Post. The Gender Traits Test was an interesting test. Given the type of test it was, the responses to the questions seemed like a “no-brainer.” However, that defeats the purpose of these types of tests. I believe all self-assessments are not completely accurate. If the nature of the test is known, I just believe that the self-assessment will be subjective to the type of test it is. However, if the nature of the test is not known and the person is just responding to questions, that might obtain a better set of results that are not easily falsified.

Alpha-Beta Bias

Hare-Mustin and Marecek (1987) described the exaggeration of differences as alpha bias, and the minimization of differences as beta bias. This is believed to be a deliberate action to highlight or bring attention to certain characteristics and overlook others (Hare-Mustin and Marecek, 1989). For instance, if a female was taking a gender assessment test and she is what is perceived as a “Tom Boy” or “Masculine,” she may indicate that she is more gentle and “lady-like” than she actually is. Basically, this alpha-beta bias is a product of society’s definition of the male and female genders. Hare-Mustin and Marecek (1989) explained the alpha-beta error as the fabricated proclamation of a difference, and the fictitious omission of a true quality.


Thinking back to my original point, tests such as The Gender Traits Test allows room for alpha-beta errors because of the knowledge of what the test is about and society’s unwritten rules that paints one gender this way and the other gender the opposite way. I think these types of assessments overemphasize and minimize differences depending on the test taker. Males would want to overemphasize known male characteristics, and minimize known female characteristics, and vice versa.

I do not think this type of assessment would be beneficial to research related to gender because the responses can easily be biased. In fact, Lucas and Baird (2006) agreed that self-assessments are difficult to tell if the responses were true responses. Additionally, the respondents may wish to present him or herself in a different light, which is untruthful and causes a flaw in the self-assessment (Lucas & Baird, 2006).


Hare-Mustin, R. T., & Marecek, J. (1987). Gender and the Meaning of Difference: Alpha and Beta Bias. Retrieved from…

Hare-Mustin, R. T. ., & Marecek, J. (1989). Thinking About Postmodernism and Gender Theory. American Psychologist, 44(10), 1333–1334. Retrieved from…

Lucas, R. E., & Baird, B. M. (2006). Global Self-Assessment. In Handbook of multimethod measurement in psychology. (pp. 29–42). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.…

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