A recent study by psychologists at Yale University found that adults, when they received their child's finger prick, thought it was less painful than if it were a girl. .

The study, published in The journal of pediatric psychologyshowed 264 adult participants a video of a child whose gender seemed ambiguous. Then, a group of participants learned that the child in the video was called Samuel, while the other group was named Samantha. They were then asked to rate the degree of pain felt by the "boy" or "girl" in relation to the pain felt.

Participants felt that the child felt more pain when he was described as a boy.

"Explicit gender stereotypes – for example, that boys are more stoic or girls more emotional – can skew the assessment of children's pain by adults," the authors concluded.

The study draws on the work of one of its co-authors, Lindsey Cohen of Georgia State University, who led a 2014 study in Children's health care in which participants also evaluated their perceptions of a child's pain after watching a video of his stung finger. Although this study used a predominantly female cohort of university students, Yale's study expands this research, showing that the effect is measurable in a group of adults aged 18 to 18. 75 years old and balanced between the sexes.

The lead author of Yale's study, Brian Earp, notably pointed out that the phenomena illustrated in this study apply primarily to observers. While men were likely to better assess the pain perception of boys and girls, the women in the study felt that the boys' pain was more acute than that of the girls.

Earp said it was like they thought: "For a boy to be able to express so much pain, he must really suffer."

He suggested that researchers could do similar research with babies to see if gender stereotypes begin even earlier.

In her 2018 book, "Doing Harm," Maya Dusenbery discovered that sexism affects how women's cases are treated in the health system. She says that Yale's study of sexist prejudices "really fits what we see in adult pain perceptions, and it's remarkable that these stereotypes start so young."

Dusenbery said, "Women are more likely to seek care for pain more easily, which does not mean you should take it less seriously when they do."

She added, "What is happening in the real world is that women are perceived as exaggerated pain rather than being more specific in the description."

This year's Yale study fits into a larger body of research showing how other marginalized populations have more difficulty making their doctors listen to doctors. Such a study showed that men and whites were much more likely to be cardiac catheterized than women and blacks reporting the same symptoms of chest pain.
Another study found that medical students and white residents had false beliefs about biological differences between blacks and whites, leading to racial bias in treatment.