Self-stereotyping and self-enhancement in gender groups
This study investigated the effects of sex membership and its salience on individuals' self-stereotyping and the motivation to define oneself positively (self-enhancement). Bem's (1981) gender-schema and Markus's (1977) self-schema theories were interpreted within the framework of inter group relations, which emphasized their respective bipolar and unipolar structures. The use men and women made of these cognitive schemas, as well as of self-enhancement, was tested by examining latencies in self-descriptions on the BSRI attributes (Bem, 1974). Subjects described themselves and rated the stereotypicality and the positiveness of these attributes in one of two situations. A situation stressed a personal level of categorization (the individual setting), another a social level (the group setting). The first hypothesis was that the situations influence individuals' selection of specific self-defining strategies. Results supported this expectation when considering the motivational strategy and the gender-schema. Self-enhancement was slightly more used in the individual than the group setting, and the gender-schema was salient only in the group setting. The second hypothesis was that distinct self-stereotyping processes occur as a function of the sex of the subjects. Support for this hypothesis was again found only for the gender-schema, with women displaying this schema more than men. Sex differences in schematic thinking were interpreted as ensuing from status positions of women and men in the social structure.
Wiley, European Journal of Social Psychology, Volume 21, Issue 5, pp. 403-417
Stereotypes – prejudices