Mental rotation is a task in which men outscore women by up to one standard deviation. Many biological, strategic, experi- ential, and motivational factors concur to explain this gender gap. Among these there are gender stereotypes, which could either harm or favor performance, giving rise, respectively, to stereotype threat or lift effects. This study examined effects due to stereotypes induced by testing women in a minority mixed-gender group composition (subtle message) when provided with instructions about men’s or women’s superiority (blatant message), in order to assess the hypothesis that the effort of disconfirming a negative stereotype causes increased performance when two messages, either blatant or subtle, are provided. Sixty-six men and 78 women tested either in a mixed-gender or a same-gender group composition were provided with one of the three instructions (men better, women better, nullifying) after performing a mental rotation test (baseline measure) and before taking another one. Results showed that women increased performance mainly when instructed that men score higher in the mixed-gender group composition, and after the nullifying instructions when tested in the same-gender group composition. Men increased performance mainly when they were instructed that women scored higher. Taken together, the results showed that both genders
Archives of Sexual Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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