Type of Thesis
Dr. Bernadette Park
Dr. Robert D. Rupert
Dr. Angela Bryan
Psychological essentialism is defined as the tendency to view entities as if they have an underlying, and often invisible, essence that makes them what they are (Medin & Ortony, 1989) and these essentialist conceptions about a group can be heightened when there is an assumed biological basis to group membership (Dar-Nimrod & Heine, 2011). The present study addresses this concept and asks whether or not essentialist perceptions of fathers can be manipulated when participants are shown the biological changes that occur when men become fathers. It was hypothesized that (1) on average, mothers would be essentialized more than fathers, (2) the difference in essentialism ratings between mothers and fathers within each of the four conditions would follow a linear trend, and (3), participants in the conditions that focused on fathers would support work-related policies that affect parents more than the other conditions. The current study was able to confirm all three of these hypotheses and goes onto further discuss what these findings mean in a real-world setting.
Rosa, Emma B., "Uncovering the Underlying Essence of Fatherhood: Psychological Essentialism and Perceptions of Fathers" (2016). Undergraduate Honors Theses. 1156.