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Title:Beyond Nature and Nurture: The Influence of Implicit Gender Theories on Attitudes and Behavior
Author(s):Coleman, Jill Marie
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Hong, Ying-Yi
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Abstract:Although the nature versus nurture debate has existed in psychological research for decades, there has not been much attention given to how individuals' ideas about this issue influence their beliefs. In the present research, we examined how peoples' beliefs that gender is biologically or socially constructed affected their attitudes toward women and their tendencies to describe themselves using stereotypically feminine traits. Based on previous work on implicit personality theories and psychological perspectives on gender, two implicit theories of gender (biological and social) were modeled and tested. It was hypothesized at the outset of the project that support for the biological theory would be associated with traditional attitudes toward women (Study 1), increased feminine self-stereotyping (Study 2), and an increased tendency to think and act in a manner consistent with feminine stereotypes (Study 3). The results of Study 1 showed that support for a biological theory of gender was associated with traditional, conservative attitudes toward women. The results of Study 2 demonstrated that the salience of a biological gender theory caused an increase in individuals' feminine self-stereotyping compared to the salience of the social theory, particularly when negative stereotypic traits were the subject of focus. The results of Study 3, however, failed to produce any significant effects of implicit gender theories on either stereotype-consistent decision making or responses to gender discrimination. Overall, the results of the three studies provided mixed support for the original predictions but do suggest that implicit gender theories have some influence on gender-related thoughts and behaviors.
Issue Date:2005
Description:113 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2005.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3182242
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2005

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