Three experiments were conducted at two east coast Universities with primarily Caucasian students participating. In experiment one, college students disclosed that they scored in the 91st percentile or in the top half on an intelligence-related test to a female student who had scored either in the 42nd percentile (low-achieving) or the 92nd percentile (high-achieving) on the same test. Women who disclosed modestly (“top half”) judged that the low-achieving other felt better than women who disclosed immodestly (“91st percentile”). Also, women who disclosed modestly judged that the other liked them more than women who disclosed immodestly. These effects did not occur with men. In experiment two, college students disclosed that they scored in the 91st percentile or in the top half on an intelligence-related test to either a male or a female student who had scored in the 42nd percentile on the same test. Women who disclosed modestly judged that a female peer liked them more and felt more intelligent and confident than did women who disclosed immodestly. In contrast, men who disclosed immodestly judged that a female peer liked them more than did men who disclosed modestly. Regardless of the peer's gender, women judged that peers felt worse about themselves, were less happy and more upset when subjects had disclosed immodestly. In contrast, men judged that the peer felt better about himself or herself, was happier and less upset when the subjects had disclosed immodestly. In Experiment 3, male and female participants rated the intelligence-related test as equally difficult and rated doing well on them as equally important. Participants also indicated that doing well was equally important to males and females. Thus, ego-involvement is ruled out as an alternative explanation. These findings support the interpretation of previous research that women may choose to disclose modestly in an effort to be better liked or to protect the other's feelings.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 14, 2004
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