Term of Award

Spring 2011

Degree Name

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

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Psychology

Committee Chair

Lawrence Jr. Locker

Committee Member 1

Karen Z. Naufel

Committee Member 2

William D. McIntosh

Committee Member 3

n/a

Abstract

It is widely known that women are often discriminated against in the job market, but emerging research suggests that men may have similar experiences. In particular, men and women face employment discrimination when entering a field incongruent to their gender. While many studies have focused on describing the gender gap in the work force, fewer studies have focused on the basic cognitive processes related to discriminatory behavior. To build upon the idea that context plays a role in how easily individuals recognize stimuli and their attitudes towards these stimuli, the present study examines individual differences in sexism and contextual cueing as interacting phenomena. Participants completed a timed task in which they decided whether individuals in photographs matched particular career labels. When the photograph and career did not match in relation to gender (e.g., a man pictured as a nurse), the reaction time of the participant was slower than if the career-picture pair did match (e.g., a woman pictured as a nurse). However, sexism, as measured by Glick and Fiske's (1996) Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, was found to be a moderator of congruency effects. A proposed cognitive theory of the underlying processing differences between sexists and nonsexists is discussed, as well as implications for gender discrimination.

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