A Social Psychological Perspective
Chapter 3. Effects of Stereotypes on Judging Others
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A recent commercial showed men and women in different situations at work—during a meeting, giving a presentation, alone in the office at night. It suggests that a male leader is perceived as the boss, while a female leader seems bossy; where he appears persuasive, she appears pushy; and when working long hours, he appears dedicated, whereas she appears selfish (thanks to Laurie Rudman for pointing this out to us). The message is this: If women and men do the same, others (i.e., perceivers) interpret their behavior very differently. The gender stereotypes we introduced earlier would thus have profound consequences for how we “see” individual women and men. Whether this is the case is not a trivial question. For instance, it could be that we hold the stereotype that more men than women are natural leaders, but the moment we see a woman leading, we simply note that she is an exception and perceive her identically to her male colleagues. Alternatively, as the commercial suggests, gender stereotypes may influence how we perceive and judge individual women and men. In the following, we devote much space to this question, because hundreds of studies have tested it and provide more nuanced responses than a simple “yes” or “no.” We ask the questions: Are individual women and men described in gender-stereotypical terms? If women and men act similarly, are they still perceived to differ?
← 33 | 34 → Research findings suggest that the answer is yes. Evidence that...
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