The Effects of Exposure to Positive Gender Stereotypes on Women's and Men's Performance in Counter-Stereotypical Tasks and Pursuit of Agentic and Communal Goals

Rotem Kahalon, Nurit Shnabel, Julia C. Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Two studies examined the effects of exposure to positive gender stereotypes on performance in counter-stereotypical domains and pursuit of agentic and communal goals. Exposure to stereotypes about women s communality (Study 1, N = 108) led to impaired math performance among women, regardless of their math identification. Exposure to stereotypes about men s agency (Study 2, N = 129) led to impaired performance in a test of socio-emotional ability among men high in domain identification. Moreover, among women with high math identification, exposure to the communality stereotype increased the pursuit of agentic goals. Among men, exposure to the agency stereotype tended to decrease the pursuit of communal goals. These results are consistent with accumulating evidence for the "dark side" of positive stereotypes, yet, for women, they also point to active attempts to counteract them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)50-62
Number of pages13
JournalSocial Psychology
Volume51
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Keywords

  • gender roles
  • gender stereotypes
  • interpersonal goals
  • positive stereotypes
  • stereotype threat
  • women in STEM

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