Term of Award

Spring 2021

Degree Name

Master of Science in Experimental Psychology (M.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Amy Hackney

Committee Member 1

Mike Nielsen

Committee Member 2

Nicolette Rickert


Social movements with potential to change the traditional gender hierarchy may be met with approval or disapproval, depending upon levels of status-legitimizing beliefs (SLBs). Under conditions of gender hierarchy change, one mechanism in which people may choose to fight or support such change is through their purchase of gender stereotypical or counter-stereotypical products. Community members completed a measure of System Legitimizing Beliefs (Levin et al., 1998) and then read one of two news articles about women in the workplace that suggested trends that either threatened or did not threaten the current gender hierarchy. Participants then imagined needing to purchase a toy for their (hypothetical) young boy and rated a series of advertisements that depicted a boy playing with stereotypically masculine toys and stereotypically feminine toys. Results supported the predicted interaction between SLB levels and preference for masculine toys, but hierarchy threat information did not significantly modify this association. Overall, people higher in SLBs preferred masculine toys over feminine toys, and the data suggested that this relationship was maintained, regardless of level of gender hierarchy threat. On the other hand, individuals lower in SLBs rated masculine and feminine toys similarly when there was no threat to the gender hierarchy. When the gender hierarchy was threatened, individuals lower in SLBs rated feminine toys more favorably than masculine toys. Although this three-way interaction between SLBs, toy type, and gender hierarchy threat was not statistically significant, the predicted pattern of means suggests that the causal impact of gender hierarchy threat on the relationship between SLBs and toy preferences deserves further study.

OCLC Number


Research Data and Supplementary Material