Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2015

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Psychology & Neuroscience

First Advisor

Bernadette Park

Second Advisor

Irene Blair

Third Advisor

Charles Judd

Fourth Advisor

Randall O'Reilly

Fifth Advisor

Lawrence Williams

Abstract

The present research examined a previously unexamined stereotype—that men possess more scientific traits than women—and two moderators of this gender-science stereotype: sociopolitical beliefs about how to approach gender differences (gender ideology) and target feminine facial appearance (gender prototypicality). A pre-test to select face stimuli first established that female scientists with more feminine facial appearance were judged as less likely to be scientists (Study 1). A second pre-test validated both positive and negative traits along the scientific and warmth dimension that were viewed as stereotypic of scientists. Study 2 found that science stereotypic traits were more readily associated with men than with women. Specifically, men were more associated with scientific and cold traits, and less associated with unscientific and warm traits, relative to women, and these stereotypes emerged whether assessed at an implicit level (using a go/no-go association task; GNAT) or an explicit level (using a percent estimate task), but were uncorrelated with one another. Moreover, gender ideology moderated explicit stereotypes but had no effect on implicit stereotypes; but greater assimilationism (i.e., believing that women should be more like men in the workplace) and segregationism (i.e., believing that men and women belong in separate roles) both predicted stronger gender-science stereotypes, whereas greater gender blindness (i.e., believing each person should be treated as a unique individual regardless of his or her gender) predicted weaker stereotypes. To examine whether gender prototypicality influenced the strength of implicit stereotypes, three versions of the GNAT instantiated gender using either generic names (control) or photos of high prototypical or low prototypical men and women (pre-tested in Study 1). Despite evidence that women’s facial prototypicality influenced perceived likelihood of being a scientist in Study 1, variation in prototypicality had very little impact on implicit gender-science stereotypes in Study 2. Other correlates of the gender ideologies are examined, and the implications, limitations and future directions of this work are considered.

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