Kevin Lewis

August 02, 2012

Shorn Scalps and Perceptions of Male Dominance

Albert Mannes
Social Psychological and Personality Science, forthcoming

Three studies contribute to the literature on dominance and nonverbal behavior (Ellyson & Dovidio, 1985) by examining how a man's choice to shave his head influences person perception. In Study 1, men with shaved heads were rated as more dominant than similar men with full heads of hair. In Study 2, men whose hair was digitally removed were perceived as more dominant, taller, and stronger than their authentic selves. Study 3 extends these results with nonphotographic stimuli and demonstrates how men experiencing natural hair loss may improve their interpersonal standing by shaving. Theories of signaling, norm violation, and stereotypes are examined as explanations for the effect. Practical implications for men's psychological, social, and economic outlooks are also discussed.


Test anxiety and performance-avoidance goals explain gender differences in SAT-V, SAT-M, and overall SAT scores

Brenda Hannon
Personality and Individual Differences, forthcoming

This study uses analysis of co-variance in order to determine which cognitive/learning (working memory, knowledge integration, epistemic belief of learning) or social/personality factors (test anxiety, performance-avoidance goals) might account for gender differences in SAT-V, SAT-M, and overall SAT scores. The results revealed that none of the cognitive/learning factors accounted for gender differences in SAT performance. However, the social/personality factors of test anxiety and performance-avoidance goals each separately accounted for all of the significant gender differences in SAT-V, SAT-M, and overall SAT performance. Furthermore, when the influences of both of these factors were statistically removed simultaneously, all non-significant gender differences reduced further to become trivial by Cohen's (1988) standards. Taken as a whole, these results suggest that gender differences in SAT-V, SAT-M, and overall SAT performance are a consequence of social/learning factors.


Women Who Know Their Place: Sex-Based Differences in Spatial Abilities and Their Evolutionary Significance

Ariane Burke, Anne Kandler & David Good
Human Nature, June 2012, Pages 133-148

Differences between men and women in the performance of tests designed to measure spatial abilities are explained by evolutionary psychologists in terms of adaptive design. The Hunter-Gatherer Theory of Spatial Ability suggests that the adoption of a hunter-gatherer lifestyle (assuming a sexual division of labor) created differential selective pressure on the development of spatial skills in men and women and, therefore, cognitive differences between the sexes. Here, we examine a basic spatial skill - wayfinding (the ability to plan routes and navigate a landscape) - in men and women in a natural, real-world setting as a means of testing the proposition that sex-based differences in spatial ability exist outside of the laboratory. Our results indicate that when physical differences are accounted for, men and women with equivalent experience perform equally well at complex navigation tasks in a real-world setting. We conclude that experience, gendered patterns of activity, and self-assessment are contributing factors in producing previously reported differences in spatial ability.


Negotiation Topic as a Moderator of Gender Differences in Negotiation

Julia Bear & Linda Babcock
Psychological Science, July 2012, Pages 743-744

"Participants were 116 physicians (58 men, 58 women; mean age = 48 years) enrolled in an executive-education program on negotiation...We modified Mapletech-Yazawa, a commonly used exercise involving a negotiation over the price of halogen motorcycle headlights (obtained from Harvard Business School, Boston, MA)...We created a new version identical to the original except that the issue was changed to the price of lamp-work beads used to make jewelry and that the names of the companies were changed to reflect crafts instead of technology ("Maplecraft" and "Yazawa Crafts"). With these changes, the gender context of the case became feminine rather than masculine...Fifty-eight mixed-gender pairs were randomly assigned to negotiate the price of the beads or headlights and to be the buyer or the seller...As predicted, gender differences in performance were moderated by the negotiation topic, t(56) = 2.00, p < .03, d = 0.53. In the masculine negotiation, women received significantly less than half of the $25 surplus, t(57) = 3.72, p < .01; this means that men outperformed women. In the feminine negotiation, women's surplus was not significantly different from half of the surplus, t(57) = 0.43, p = .67; this means that there was no gender difference in performance for this negotiation."


(S)he's Got the Look: Gender Stereotyping of Robots

Friederike Eyssel & Frank Hegel
Journal of Applied Social Psychology, forthcoming

Previous research on gender effects in robots has largely ignored the role of facial cues. We fill this gap in the literature by experimentally investigating the effects of facial gender cues on stereotypical trait and application ascriptions to robots. As predicted, the short-haired male robot was perceived as more agentic than was the long-haired female robot, whereas the female robot was perceived as more communal than was the male counterpart. Analogously, stereotypically male tasks were perceived more suitable for the male robot, relative to the female robot, and vice versa. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that gender stereotypes, which typically bias social perceptions of humans, are even applied to robots. Implications for design-related decisions are discussed.


Digit ratios, the menstrual cycle and social preferences

Thomas Buser
Games and Economic Behavior, forthcoming

We examine whether social preferences are partially determined by biological factors. We do this by investigating whether digit ratios (2D:4D) and menstrual cycle information are correlated with choices in ultimatum, trust, public good and dictator games. Digit ratios are thought to be a proxy for prenatal testosterone and oestrogen exposure and the menstrual cycle is a proxy for contemporary variations in a range of hormones. We find that digit ratios predict giving in all games. In our preferred specification, giving in the trust and public good games as well as reciprocity in the trust and ultimatum games vary significantly over the menstrual cycle. We discuss possible mechanisms behind these effects and conclude that biological factors play an important role in shaping social preferences.


Men Too Sometimes Shy Away from Competition: The Case of Team Competition

Marie-Pierre Dargnies
Management Science, forthcoming

Recent results in experimental and personnel economics indicate that women do not like competitive environments as much as men. This paper presents an experimental design that gives participants the opportunity to enter a tournament as part of a team rather than alone. Although a large and significant gender gap in entry in the individual tournament is found, in line with the literature, no gender gap is found in entry in the team tournament. Women do not enter the tournament significantly more often when it is team based, but men enter significantly less when they are part of a team than when alone. The main reason for men's disaffection with team competition appears to be linked to the uncertainty of their teammate's performance in a team tournament. More precisely, high-performing men fear being the victims of the free-riding behavior of their teammate. Women, especially low-performing women, tend to enter the team tournament more often than the individual one when they know they will be matched to a teammate of the same level as their own.


Gender, Culture, and Sex-Typed Cognitive Abilities

David Reilly
PLoS ONE, July 2012

Although gender differences in cognitive abilities are frequently reported, the magnitude of these differences and whether they hold practical significance in the educational outcomes of boys and girls is highly debated. Furthermore, when gender gaps in reading, mathematics and science literacy are reported they are often attributed to innate, biological differences rather than social and cultural factors. Cross-cultural evidence may contribute to this debate, and this study reports national gender differences in reading, mathematics and science literacy from 65 nations participating in the 2009 round of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Consistently across all nations, girls outperform boys in reading literacy, d = -.44. Boys outperform girls in mathematics in the USA, d = .22 and across OECD nations, d = .13. For science literacy, while the USA showed the largest gender difference across all OECD nations, d = .14, gender differences across OECD nations were non-significant, and a small female advantage was found for non-OECD nations, d = -.09. Across all three domains, these differences were more pronounced at both tails of the distribution for low- and high-achievers. Considerable cross-cultural variability was also observed, and national gender differences were correlated with gender equity measures, economic prosperity, and Hofstede's cultural dimension of power distance. Educational and societal implications of such gender gaps are addressed, as well as the mechanisms by which gender differences in cognitive abilities are culturally mediated.


Gender differences in implicit gender self-categorization lead to stronger gender self-stereotyping by women than by men

Mara Cadinu & Silvia Galdi
European Journal of Social Psychology, August 2012, Pages 546-551

It was hypothesized that, in natural group contexts, low-status in-group membership would be highly accessible, whereas membership to high-status groups would not. Therefore, gender group membership was predicted to be more accessible for women than for men. It was further hypothesized that the high accessibility of gender group membership would lead to stronger self-stereotyping for women than for men. To measure the accessibility of gender group membership, participants performed a Gender Self-Categorization Implicit Association Test (Studies 1 and 2), measuring the strength of automatic associations between the self and the gender in-group. Participants also performed a Self-Stereotyping Implicit Association Test (Study 2), assessing the strength of automatic associations between the self and the stereotypical traits of the in-group. As expected, implicit gender self-categorization and implicit gender self-stereotyping were stronger for women than for men. Importantly, implicit gender self-categorization mediated the relation between gender and self-stereotyping. Therefore, implicit gender self-categorization was the mechanism underlying stronger implicit self-stereotyping by women.


Gender preference and transfers from parents to children: An inter-regional comparison

Edwin Wong
International Review of Applied Economics, forthcoming

This paper examines whether parents exhibit gender preference in the allocation of family resources to their adult children. Gender preference is defined in the context of an altruistic model for inter-vivos transfer from parents to children extended to include educational investment. Data from the Health and Retirement Study (United States) and the Korean Longitudinal Study of Ageing are used to show that the degree of gender preference differs across these culturally distinct regions. Among Korean families, empirical results point to male preference as sons receive larger inter-vivos transfers and attain higher levels of education compared with daughters. In contrast, the evidence pertaining to gender preference among American families points to daughter preference as inter-vivos transfers and educational investment is generally higher among female adult children.


Reinventing the Matron: The Continued Importance of Gendered Images and Division of Labor in Modern Policing

Don Kurtz, Travis Linnemann & Susan Williams
Women & Criminal Justice, Summer 2012, Pages 239-263

The current research examines the workplace images and responsibilities of female police officers in 3 departments. Ethnographic interviews with 28 officers in 3 midwestern communities indicate that women in law enforcement are still viewed through a gendered lens, which shapes relations with fellow officers and the community. Images of female officers correspond to their early role in law enforcement as matrons charged with the care of female offenders and juvenile delinquents. Results indicate that female officers are expected to care for children, delinquents, and female victims regardless of personal preference or individual skills, and institutional practices tend to maintain women officers in the devalued position historically held by police matrons. Subtle interactions between officers and the belief in so-called natural feminine instincts are utilized to maintain patrol work as a masculine enterprise.


Feminine Charm: An Experimental Analysis of Its Costs and Benefits in Negotiations

Laura Kray, Connson Locke & Alex Van Zant
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, forthcoming

The authors examined feminine charm, an impression management technique available to women that combines friendliness with flirtation. They asked whether feminine charm resolves the impression management dilemma facing women who simultaneously pursue task (i.e., economic) and social goals in negotiations. They compared women's social and economic consequences after using feminine charm versus a neutral interaction style. They hypothesized that feminine charm would create positive impressions of its users, thus partially mitigating the social penalties women negotiators often incur. They also expected that the degree to which females were perceived as flirtatious (signaling a concern for self), rather than merely friendly (signaling a concern for other), would predict better economic deals for females. Hypotheses were supported across a correlational study and three experiments. Feminine charm has costs and benefits spanning economic and social measures. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.


India's gender bias in child population, female education and growing prosperity: 1951-2011

D.P. Chaudhri & Raghbendra Jha
International Review of Applied Economics, forthcoming

Using Census and National Sample Survey (NSS) data, this paper studies the evolution of Gender Bias (GB) in the age group 0-6 in India and its association with education and higher prosperity. GB is pervasive and has grown over time with higher prosperity and resultant demographic transition and enhanced education. Large household size (associated with high fertility rates and low Monthly Per Capita Expenditure (MPCE)) are linked with low GB. However, with higher prosperity and lower Total Fertility Rate (TFR) GB rises sharply. Hence, the outlook for GB in the age group 0-6 appears bleak at least until 2026. There are wide variations in GB across various states, even districts. Both improved education of females in the age group 15-49 and higher prosperity lead to worsening of GB. However, at high values of the interaction of these two variables there is a turnaround in the trend of worsening GB. Policy conclusions are discussed.


Clean Cooking Fuel, Women's Intrahousehold Status, and Son Preference in Rural India

Avinash Kishore & Dean Spears
Harvard Working Paper, May 2012

Despite profoundly negative health consequences of indoor air pollution, most rural Indian households cook using traditional biomass fuel, rather than cleaner cooking fuel. Although many factors contribute to households' continued use of solid fuels, this paper focuses on one: women's intrahousehold status. We use two nationally representative datasets, and implement two complementary empirical strategies. The first strategy demonstrates that observable indicators of low women's status are associated with lower use of clean fuel, despite a broad range of controls. No similar association is found between status and electrification. The second strategy exploits Indian son preference: having a girl first child lowers women's status relative to having a boy first child, and is therefore associated with a three-fourths of a percentage point reduction in the likelihood of using clean fuel. This effect is found throughout the wealth distribution, and is not concentrated among households in states with a high child sex ratio or households where women have some education. Using several other assets as dependent variables -- including electrification -- no similar effect of having a girl first child was found. To our knowledge this is the first paper applying a causal identification strategy to this implication of women's status.


All the President's Men? The Appointment of Female Cabinet Ministers Worldwide

Mona Lena Krook & Diana O'Brien
Journal of Politics, July 2012, Pages 840-855

Women have traditionally been underrepresented among government ministers, and when included in cabinets have largely been relegated to "feminine" and low-prestige policy areas. Recently, however, some countries have witnessed changes in the number, gender, and/or prestige of women's appointments. What accounts for this variation in women's access to ministerial power? To answer this question, we posit three competing theoretical explanations: political institutions, social indicators of gender equality, and broader trends in women's political recruitment. To test these hypotheses, we compile an original dataset of 117 countries and construct a new measure - the Gender Power Score - which differentially weights cabinet positions based on women's numbers and the gender and prestige of the ministries to which they are assigned. Using a finite mixture model to evaluate competing hypotheses, we find that political variables - rather than social factors - have the strongest impact on gender parity in cabinets.


The gender wage gap in experimental labor markets

Christiane Schwieren
Economics Letters, forthcoming

We analyze the gender wage gap in experimental markets. Women receive but do not request significantly lower wages than men. This hurts firms, as women react with low effort. Additionally, women tend to react differently than men to wage levels.


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