Gender Differences in Self-Perception an d
Negative Recall Biases
University of Wisconsin
This study investigated gender differences in the accu racy of self-perception s
an d wh ether self-perception biases are related to negative recall bia ses.
Participants were 275 female an d 213 male college studen ts. Approximately
10% of the participan ts were minorities (m ostly African Am erican and Asian).
On a masculine task‚ gender differen ces in self-perceptions were found for three
m easu res of accuracy: The accuracy of self-evalu ation s‚ calibration ‚ and
respo nse bias. Fem ales u nderestim ated their perfo rm ance‚ were less well
calibrated ‚ an d showed a more con servative response bias than did males. As
hypothesized ‚ no gender differences in the accuracy of self-evaluation s were
foun d for fem inine and neutral tasks. Participan ts’ expectan cies mediated the
gender differences in post task self-evalu ations of performance. In addition ‚
evidence for a negative recall bias was fou nd. Fem ales were more likely than
m ales to recall their m istakes even with perfo rm an ce an d accu racy of
self-evalu ations con trolled. The implications of females’ greater self-perception
biases on m asculine tasks are discussed an d suggestions for future research
are m ade.
Self-perceptions are an inte gral part of our lives. In fact‚ se lf-evaluation
“is a fundame ntal task of se lf-regulation. Without feedback on whe re one
stands and how one is doing with respe ct to one ’s goals‚ effe ctive self-regu-
lation is virtually impossible ” (Taylor‚ Nete r‚ & Wayme nt‚ 1995‚ p. 1278) .
1998 Plenum Publishing Corp orati on
This study is base d in part on a dissertation submitted to the Unive rsity of Ore gon in partial
fulfillment of the re quirements for the doctoral degree. Parts of this research were presented
at the 1992 meeting of the American Psychological Association in Washington
I would like to thank Edward Bowden and an anonymous reviewer for their thou ghtful
comme nts on an earlie r version of this pape r. Thanks also go to Ch ris Dude k and Mindy
Myers who served as research assistants.
To whom corresponde nce should be addre ssed at Departme nt of Psychology