Gender stereotypes

Content of gender stereotypes

Development of Stereotypes

1. Gender schema theory: "The knowledge, beliefs and attitudes we have about gender" (Sinorelli& Fieze, 1989)

-- if we have these gender schemas and they are indeed responsible for stereotypes, then they will influence our ways of processing information about people


first impressions

learning ability

(Freedman & Lips, 1996)

-Reaction time studies: If a schema is in use, then it will take less time to react to information consistent with that schema

e.g., "there's really a number of ways to do it. Some people

can do it at home, others send out, others go out to do it.

Some will separate, some will do it together, but if you do

It that way, you might not like what you find afterward."

Specific Ho: exposed to feminine information, Gender schematic women should...

Exposed to Masculine information, they should...


exposed to words like "Emotional", "Dominant"

Exposed to careers like "Ballet Dancer", "accountant"

Are these traits/careers self-descriptive? Yes/No

DV: time to hit the button

Results: Women "said Yes" to feminine words, careers more quickly than masculine and neutral ones.

Social Role theory: we learn to expect particular roles belong to a particular gender

e.g., Rubin, Povenzano, Luria, 1974

e.g., Philips & Gilroy, 1985

Stereotypes influencing prejudice & behaviour

1. Prejudice: a. "women are less able"

e.g., Goldberg, 1968

b. "when women succeed, its cuz they're lucky"

e.g., Deaux & Emswiller, 1974

c. "women fail, it's cuz they're not able"

e.g., Hansen & O'Leary, 1985-Attributions for failure










2. Behavior (Discrimination)

-Others' br

e.g., Lott, 1987

Our own

e.g., Skypnek & Snyder, 1982

What subjects thought   What was happening
1. men would be working with man or woman 1. men working with women only
(without seeing each other)  
  • "20 yr old male sophmore




Men hearing gender stereotypes about males
  • or

    "20 yr old female sophmore,

    shy, gentle, soft-spoken

men hearing gender stereotypes about females
2. then told:

"Negotiate with your partner "feminine" or "masculine" task

which task each of you should do"


When thought they were working with men, their female partners selected masculine task

When thought they were working with women, their female partners selected female task

So, perhaps tasks/jobs are chosen on the basis of how people expect us to act?

e.g., Zanna & Pack, 1975