Attitude toward women's societal roles moderates the effect of gender cues on target individuation

Department of Psychology, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York 12504-5000, USA.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Impact Factor: 5.08). 08/2000; 79(1):143-57. DOI: 10.1037//0022-3514.79.1.143
Source: PubMed


In 4 studies, participants read trait descriptions and formed impressions of 2 male and 2 female targets. They then attempted to recall which traits had described each target. As predicted, participants with a "progressive" attitude toward women's rights and roles (J. T. Spence, R. L. Helmreich, & J. Stapp, 1973) made fewer within-group recall errors for female targets than for male targets, indicating greater individuation of the female targets, whereas participants with a "traditional" attitude made fewer errors for male targets. The findings of a 5th study suggested that progressive participants were motivated to individuate women by their belief that it is important to improve the status of women and other groups low in power and by their identification with women and feminism. Traditional participants' greater individuation of men was believed to stem from their perception of men's higher status (as confirmed by pretests) and their acceptance of the status quo.

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