Both psychological theory and empirical research have consistently indicated that human beings use media images to form cognitive schemas, and that these schemas can then have an effect on perceptions of ability and performance. Gender and ethnic biases are well documented in common media, such as television and picture books. This study examined images of human beings in two popular computer clipart packages, Microsoft Office 97 and Print Shop Ensemble III, to investigate whether this new medium would embody modern, egalitarian goals for gender and racial equality or would depict more traditional and differentiated views. As hypothesized, computer clipart was similar to other media, depicting Caucasian males more frequently and in more active/nonnurturant and desirable roles than any other group. Findings suggest that individuals using these programs to make business and educational materials more interesting and engaging may inadvertently activate maladaptive cognitive schemas.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 3, 2004
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