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The Social Psychology of Gender

A social psychological examination of gender taking a sociological, biological, and biosocial approach.

William Cockrell

on 24 May 2014

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Transcript of The Social Psychology of Gender

The Social Psychology of Gender
Sex or Gender?
biological predisposition; genetics
Facial Hair
Gender: psychological characteristics
Potential Outcomes
XX - Female
XY - Male
XXY - Klinefelter Syndrome
XO - Turner Syndrome
(Diamond, 1994; Fausto-Sterling, 2007)
Measuring Gender
Girly Girl
Bem's Gendered Assumptions
Gender polarization
Biological essentialism
Gender in Context
Gender is....
Flexible (not permanent)
Situation Matters
Social Psychology and gender
Social Role Theory
Proposed by Alice Eagly (1987)
Gender differences are created through gender roles
Primary gender role = sexual division of labor
How do gendered roles created differences?
Social Role Theory
Supported by Bem (1994)
Participant evaluations of male/female homemakers/employees
(Eagly & Steffen, 1984)
Social Role Theory
Male tasks = higher status
Female Tasks = lower status
Status Examples
Status Generalization
Status expectations influence performance
e.g., people automatically assign higher status to men without considering ability
Memory errors on gender
(Lorenzi-Cioldi, Eagly, & Stewart, 1995)
Gender Stereotypes
(Deaux & Lewis, 1984)
Shifting Standards
Stereotypes influence judgments
e.g., it is harder for men to appear aggressive
What would an example be for women?
(Biernat & Manis, 1994)
Gender Stereotypes
Stereotypes are automatic
(Fiske, 1998)
With little information, participants often rate men and women according to gender beliefs
Priming gender often eclipses actual performance in evaluations
(Sanbonmatsu, Akimoto, & Gibson, 1994)
Gender Socialization
Gender binaries (male <---> female) are taught through society
Children do not display this originally (Biernat, 1991)
Consistently taught over multiple countries with little variability
Most common attributes for men:
Most common for women: sentimental and submissive
(Williams & Best, 1982)
Less agreement for male stereotypes than female stereotypes. The discrepancy is believed to be due to status power difference.
(Edwards, 1992; Six & Eckes, 1991)
Attitudes Toward Gender Roles
Old-Fashioned Sexism
Modern Sexism
Gender Roles & Performance
Typical Performance evaluations:
Men are always rated better on masculine tasks
A man's success is attributed to ability
A woman's success is attributed to effort (hard work)
Women are not rated higher on feminine tasks
Keep in mind masculine tasks have higher status
(Swim & Sanna, 1996)
Gendered Social Interactions
Do women talk more than men in public?
Just when there are only women
Public Communication
Men talk more in mixed-sex groups
Women are usually view negatively for interrupting men
Men are not sanctioned for interrupting women
(Fitzpatrick, Mulac, & Dindia, 1995)
Gender & Leadership
Comparing evaluations of leaders by gender:
Men > Women
Women leaders receive less positive nonverbal behavior than male leaders
(Eagly, 1992)
(Butler & Geis, 1990)
Negative evaluations can be reduced with priming egalitarian beliefs and mentioning women's competance
( Wood & Karten, 1986)
Gender Differences?
Variation within each sex is greater than differences between the sexes (Hyde, 2005)
Are differences "real" if they are taught socially?
Socialization Statements
Evolutionary Approach
Genders are different due to sexual selection (Buss, 2003)
Key characteristics preserved in sexual selection:
Aggression/status/earning power for men
Attractiveness, Caring, and Nurturing for women
Buss (1990) studied participants in 37 countries that supported these findings
Gender Differences?
Eagly & Wood's (1999) rebuttal to Buss
Gender equality was not controlled for in Buss' study
Gender egalitarian countries report lower perceptions of gender differences
Hyde's (2005) evidence against Buss
85% overlap on psychological traits
There ARE differences on attitudes towards casual sex and physical aggression
Agency & Community
Men are typed as free-willed (agentic)
Women are labeled caring (communal)
Agency leads to respect
Caring leads to liking
Men are respected for their agency and women are liked for being communal
(Wojciszke, 2005)
So let's all be Rambo!
Almost all social learning theories mention the importance of proper socialization
(Bandura, 1977; Eagly, 1987; West & Zimmerman, 1987)
Women face social sanctions when possessing masculine traits
(Connell, 2009; Ridgeway, 2004; Rudman & Glick, 2008; )
Two Examples
Where we are today
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