Strategies for overcoming gender stereotypes in cognitive representations

Finnegan, Eimear (2014) Strategies for overcoming gender stereotypes in cognitive representations. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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Gender stereotypes are activated spontaneously and unintentionally when certain role nouns are read. For example, people expect a builder to be male and a beautician to be female. Such gender inferences lead to processing difficulties when violations of stereotypical gender occur. The aim of this thesis was to devise strategies aimed at overcoming the activation of gender stereotype biases in English.

Across nine studies, a variety of stereotype reduction strategies were investigated in conjunction with a judgement task, devised by Oakhill, Garnham and Reynolds (2005). This judgement task asked participants to decide, without deliberation, whether two terms presented onscreen could refer to one person. In the absence of a stereotype-reduction training, participants consistently showed evidence of succumbing to stereotype biases on stereotype incongruent pairings (e.g. Builder/ Mother) compared to stereotype congruent pairings (e.g. Builder/ Father). However, accuracy and response time performance to these incongruent pairings were found to significantly improve from pre-training levels to post-training levels through the use of stereotype reduction strategies such as providing participants with performance-related feedback (Experiment 1, Experiment 3), social consensus feedback (Experiment 4), combined social and accuracy feedback (Experiment 6) and counter-stereotype pictures (Experiment 8). A number of individual difference measures were also administered with the behavioural tasks. These explored whether individual differences in levels of ambivalent sexism, attitudes towards sexist language, sex role perception, and, among others, sexist pronoun use could moderate performance on the judgement task. The results from these additional tasks are described in Chapter 5.

This thesis provides further evidence for the malleability of stereotype biases and delineates specific strategies through which stereotype biases can be overcome, to ultimately result in lower levels of stereotype endorsement.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Psychology > Psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0311 Consciousness. Cognition
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2014 07:37
Last Modified: 21 Sep 2015 14:42

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