Beyond nature and nurture: The influence of lay gender theories on self-stereotyping

  • Coleman J
  • Hong Y
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Abstract

Although the nature versus nurture debate about gender differences has persisted for decades, few studies have examined the implications of individuals' nature versus nurture beliefs. In the present research, we examined how women's beliefs that gender is biologically determined or socially constructed affected their self-stereotyping tendency. Specifically, we hypothesized that holding a biological gender theory would orient women to view possessing gender stereotypical characteristics as inevitable, and thus would be linked to stronger gender self-stereotyping (even for negative feminine traits) than would a social gender theory. In two studies, using both correlational and experimental designs, we found as predicted that the biological gender theory was linked to stronger gender self-stereotyping tendency (as reflected by greater endorsements of negative feminine traits and slower reaction time in denying stereotypic feminine traits). Moreover, this relationship holds even when the participants' sexist attitudes were statistically controlled. Implications of these findings for maintenance of gender inequality were discussed. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR] Copyright of Self & Identity is the property of Psychology Press (UK) and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without the copyright holder's express written permission. However, users may print, download, or email articles for individual use. This abstract may be abridged. No warranty is given about the accuracy of the copy. Users should refer to the original published version of the material for the full abstract. (Copyright applies to all Abstracts.)

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Authors

  • Jill M. Coleman

  • Ying Yi Hong

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