In this study we explored viewers' responses to advertising by female political candidates. Gender schema theory provided the basis for developing a better understanding of the circumstances when voters evaluate female candidates and how cognitive representations of what women are like influence viewer responses. Results showed general support for the predictions derived from gender schema theory. That is, participants did seem to rely on gender schema in making judgments, a form of inference making known as “default processing,” when information was absent. Results also indicated that participants relied more on gender schematic processing when the advertisement elicited positive emotions and less on gender schematic processing when exposed to an attack ad. For comparison, viewers' responses to male candidates' political advertising were also examined. We conclude with a discussion of the implications of these findings for political campaigns.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 1, 2004
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