The Redhead Studies

Topics: Red hair, Aggression, Hair color Pages: 7 (2590 words) Published: July 3, 2011
The Redhead Studies Design is a set of three different types of study designs: an experiment, an observational study, and a survey-based study to examine the same question. The question is "Are redheaded people perceived and treated differently from people with other hair colours?" These studies will not be carried out but are created so that they could, theoretically, be carried out.

Name: Aqsa Noorin
student ID# 996800724
Course: PSYB01H3-LEC02 Psychological Research Laboratory
Instructor: Professor Connie Boudens
date of submission: Monday November 30, 2010.

Hair has always been an important aspect of how people define themselves and how other people define them. As such, much like any other defining label, there comes with hair, the concept of hair stereotyping, which is well documented in social jokes, the media and psychological literature. Take blondes, for example, successful musician Lady Gaga is naturally a brunette but as her career took rise, she dyed her hair to a platinum blonde, which has become her signature look much like several female musicians before her; yet at the same time, the most common hair stereotypes are in the form of "dumb blonde" jokes. Since blondes aren't the only ones subject to glaring sociological views, it could cause one to wonder whether these hair stereotypes affect people of all hair colours on a day-to-day basis. This study will be looking at red hair, also referred to as titian or ginger, specifically. Red hair is caused by the presence of a mutation on the melanocortin 1 receptor or MC1R. (2) "It's also a recessive trait, so it takes both parents passing on a mutated version of the MC1R gene to produce a redheaded child. Because it's a recessive trait, red hair can easily skip a generation. It can then reappear after skipping one or more generations if both parents, no matter their hair color, carry the red hair gene." (3) Redheads are rare, only approximately 1% or 2% of the human population has naturally red hair. (4) This implies that redheads are a deviance of sorts, and therefore scrutinized and stigmatized much like any other deviance from the norm would be. "Aristotle, for all his learning, was among the first to express hair-based prejudice when he wrote: "The reddish are of bad character." The Medieval inhabitants of modern Poland were so wary they burnt them all as witches, and the Normans charged twice the going rate when they were put up for sale as slaves."(1) The above quote delineates a clear example of redhead stigmatization, there appears to be an age-old prejudice against redheads. They are seen as competent enough to be admired but still possessing a cold personality, often with a fiery temper, pointed to perhaps perceived bad characters. (CEO pdf article) It is hypothesized that redheads are perceived and treated differently from people of other hair colours. There have been many studies and experiments on the social perception of redheads such as interviews conducted about and with redheads regarding the way red-haired people are perceived and treated. Hair Colour Stereotyping and CEO Selection in the United Kingdom, a study by Dr Margaret Takeda, examines the affect of hair colour stereotypes on job progression. Experiments have also been conducted to asses the perception and treatment of redheads in terms of their pain tolerance, and have found that people with red hair are more sensitive to pain than people with other coloured hair. Red-haired people are also reported to bruise more easily, but there is little or no evidence to support the belief that people with red hair have a higher chance than other hair coloured individuals to haemorrhage. (wiki link down below) An similar experiment can be conducted with redheads to asses how different their pain tolerance is in contrast to that of people with other hair colours. It can be hypothesized that people with red hair are perceived and treated differently from people...
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