Author: Peter Wright
Gamma bias refers to a cognitive gender bias theory developed by Seager & Barry (2019).1
Gamma bias entails the interrelation of two concurrent biases: alpha bias (exaggerating or magnifying gender differences) and beta bias (ignoring or minimizing gender differences). Gamma bias occurs when one gender difference is minimized while simultaneously another is magnified, resulting in a doubling of the cognitive distortion.2
Seager & Barry state that gamma bias works to magnify women’s issues and achievements and to minimize men’s issues and achievements. Alternatively, the dynamic is reversed and employed to minimize negative female traits and behaviors, while magnifying or exaggerating negative male traits or behaviors.
Theories on the purpose of gamma bias
Hypotheses regarding the growth of gamma bias and the disfavoring of males include evolutionary pressures for males to protect and provide for women which involves a reluctance to view men as vulnerable, or alternatively the sociological explanation of ‘ingroup’ and ‘outgroup’ bias which may have developed around men and women in the form of social conventions.1
A further explanation is provided by gynocentrism theory3 which posits an increase of narcissism among women in the context of heterosexual relationships and exchanges, creating what Robert Millman has called ‘acquired situational narcissism.’4 This dynamic is supported by the gamma bias operation of maximizing/minimizing certain gendered behaviors to ensure women are beneficiaries of narcissistic reassurance. This theory further assumes that the maximizing/minimizing process can be observed in classic ‘narcissist to non-narcissist’ relationships.
 Seager, M., Barry, J.A. (2019). Cognitive Distortion in Thinking About Gender Issues: Gamma Bias and the Gender Distortion Matrix. In: Barry, J., Kingerlee, R., Seager, M., Sullivan, L. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Male Psychology and Mental Health. Palgrave Macmillan
 John Barry & Martin Seager, Can we discuss gender issues rationally? Yes, if we can stop gamma bias
 Wright, Peter. “Gynocentrism As A Narcissistic Pathology.” New Male Studies 9, no. 1 (2020).
 Can Narcissism Be Acquired? (subheading pp.42-43). in Plante, T. G. (Ed.). (2006). Mental disorders of the new millennium (Vol. 3). Greenwood Publishing Group.
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