Untraining Ethnocentric Biases about Gender Roles: A Preliminary Empirical Study Presenting Art as Stimulus

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Conference Proceeding

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ACM International Conference Proceeding Series



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Human interaction with art and how ethnocentric and gender biases apply in this context via the use of human-computer interface design is poorly studied to date. This study leverages art as stimulus to untrain gender bias. The interface includes digital representations of a database of 19th century Middle Eastern paintings by European artists. We categorized images that portrayed females or males in an intellectualized state e.g., reading, playing musical instruments, etc. (Category FI or MI) or paintings of females only posing in the picture (Category FO). We cropped the original images and gave participants two unrelated choices to select the best fit from their own perspective. We ran an experiment with 3 blocks, where in the first block the participant was randomly shown an equal number of images from all categories, in the second block we only showed Category FI female intellectuals, and then in the third block a repeat of block one. Across participants from 4 English-speaking countries with female and male participants, we found a bias towards non-intellectual images for females which diminished after the middle (training) block. This study offers quantitative insight into measuring biases, thoughtful interaction with art as stimulus, and how we can start to untrain these ethnocentric or gender biases.


Gender bias, Cultural stereotypes, Interface design, Art


Computer Science