Do they see me as a person or just a woman? The effects of abstract or specific visual form on stereotyping

Clarissa Jayne Chavez, University of Texas at El Paso


The present research focuses on the automaticity of gender stereotypes and, more specifically, implicit gender stereotypes. The goal was to understand how group and person perception processes work together and under what conditions stereotyping versus person based inferences emerge. Following previous research, it was hypothesized that the two cerebral hemispheres would process information about a target individual differently. One hundred and eight participants were asked to "form an impression" of four target individuals by learning four traits for each. Two of the traits were gender stereotypic and two were unique traits for that target. Three days later, they were asked to match the traits with the correct target during the reaction time testing phase. It was hypothesized that when participants are given these four pieces of information about a target individual, the right cerebral hemisphere would process the unique non-stereotypic traits more efficiently. The left cerebral hemisphere, on the other hand, would process the stereotypic traits faster and, thus, categorize the target in that particular gender category. These data, however, showed the opposite. The unique traits were recognized much faster in the left hemisphere while there were very minimal differences between the cerebral hemispheres with the stereotypic traits. Because these results contradict the hypotheses, one is left with post-hoc explanations for the reported results, the variable identified that differs from previous research and, thus, might have produced the opposite findings is memory consolidation. ^

Subject Area

Agriculture, Agronomy|Psychology, Experimental|Psychology, Cognitive

Recommended Citation

Chavez, Clarissa Jayne, "Do they see me as a person or just a woman? The effects of abstract or specific visual form on stereotyping" (2006). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1435332.