A tale of two gender roles: the effect of implicit bias on the perception of others

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University of Alabama Libraries

Implicit activation of gender role stereotypes is under-investigated in the research literature. The current study fills this gap by examining the implicit activation of gender role stereotypes in a hypothetical hiring decision. Two studies were conducted to examine if the implicit activation of gender role stereotypes influences perceptions of job candidates. In the first study, participants (N = 306) evaluated short resume excerpts that included words designed to activate gender role stereotypes without mentioning the sex of the applicant. Results showed that these simple statements were not effective at producing a consistent assumption of an applicant's sex, nor did these statements produce differences in how the applicants were rated on work-related skills. There were significant effects indicating that female participants and those participants holding more egalitarian gender role beliefs tended to rate applicants more favorably on work-related skills. A second study required participants (N = 282) to complete one of three different priming tasks designed to activate gender role stereotypes: stereotype-congruent, stereotype-incongruent, and a no-stereotype control. Results showed that individuals who completed the stereotype-incongruent prime rated the job applicants more favorably than those in the control priming condition. In addition, in accordance with Study 1, female participants tended to rate applicants more favorably than men. These studies do not show strong evidence indicating that the activation of gender role stereotypes plays a role in hiring decisions. However, given that both studies suggest that an evaluator's own sex and gender role stereotype traditionalism play an important role when making judgments about others in a hiring situation, future research needs to be focused on investigating factors that contribute to this effect.

Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Psychology, Social psychology