Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Sandra Bem

Sandra Bem

[Note: Professor Sandra Bem died on May 20, 2014, at her home in Ithaca, New York. Social Psychology Network is maintaining this profile for visitors who wish to learn more about Professor Bem's work.]

I stopped doing empirical research in the early 1990s.

During the 1970's and 1980's, I did both empirical and theoretical work focused on the social construction of gender and sexuality, including the development of the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI), a widely used tool to assess masculinity, femininity, and androgyny, (Please note that Mind Garden owns the copyright for the BSRi and can be reached at the following web address:

Beginning in the late 1980s, I shifted away from empirical research and wrote two books, both published by Yale University Press. The first was The Lenses of Gender: Transforming the Debate on Sexual Inequality (1993), a conceptual and interdisciplinary project. The second was a memoir entitled An Unconventional Family (1998).

In the late 1990s, I retrained in clinical psychology, thereby fulfilling a lifelong desire and also honoring "the road not taken" at an earlier time. Since then, I have had a small private practice specializing in trauma, and I have also been teaching a senior seminar at Cornell entitled "Trauma and Treatment."

I have been in phased retirement at Cornell for the last five years and will be fully retired from Cornell as of July 1, 2010. After my Cornell retirement, however, I will continue to have a small private practice.

Primary Interests:

  • Applied Social Psychology
  • Close Relationships
  • Gender Psychology
  • Intergroup Relations
  • Interpersonal Processes
  • Prejudice and Stereotyping
  • Research Methods, Assessment
  • Self and Identity
  • Sexuality, Sexual Orientation


Journal Articles:

  • Bem, S. L. (1995). Dismantling gender polarization and compulsory heterosexuality: Should we turn the volume down or up? Journal of Sex Research, 32(4), 329-334.

Other Publications:

  • Bem, S. L. (1994). In a male-centered world, female differences are transformed into female disadvantages. Chronicle of Higher Education, B1-B2.

Sandra Bem
Department of Psychology
Uris Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, New York 14853-7601
United States

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