Sherif, Carolyn Wood


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Carolyn Wood Sherif (1922-1982) was an American social Psychologists who came from a scientific and mathematic background. After her Master’s degree she applied for a position as a research assistant to Muzafer Sherif whose book, The Psychology of Social Norms (1936), she admired. They later developed romantic relationship and married in 1945. Wood Sherif struggled to have her research and collaborative work with Muzafer Sherif recognised due to her lack of University affiliation and her being a woman. Princeton University (where Muzafer Sherif was working) did not accept woman graduates until 1961 so she had to commute further afield and received her PhD from the University of Texas. Wood Sherif is said to have always wanted a marriage of equals and have her career be supported; and Muzafer is said to have been outraged by the lack of recognition Carolyn received for her work.
In relation to the recognition she received from her work with Muzafer, Wood Sherif later said that until the mid- 1960s she would often decline Muzafer’s offer for her to be a co-author as she did not want to be perceived as the wife who merely typed up the work. She later said she would never do so again.
Between 1979 and 1980 Wood Sherif was the president of the Psychology of Women division of the APA. She made several contributions to feminist Psychology during the 1970s and 1980s including research on gender bias and gender identity. She argued that gender is a sociological construct and prior to investigating identity Psychologists must have an understanding of how gender is mapped within culture.