Can sexist behavior in a job application context threaten women and cause them to underperform on a subsequent cognitive ability test? In a simulated job interview, 46 women and 46 men -- undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Heidelberg, Germany -- were confronted with either sexist (dominant and physically close) behavior by a male interviewer or non-sexist (friendly and neutral) behavior by the same confederate. Participants then solved math items and language-related items from a German standard intelligence test. In accordance with our hypothesis, the results indicated that female participants in the sexist condition performed significantly worse on the mathematical test than female participants in the control condition. The performance of female participants on the language-related test and male participants on both the math and language-related tests did not differ by experimental condition. After the sexist job interview, women’s impaired performance, occurring on the math items only (i.e., specific to the domain in which women are negatively stereotyped), suggests an influence of psychological and interpersonal processes on seemingly objective test outcomes.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 23, 2014
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