Visual Gender and Its Motivational and Cognitive Effects – a User Study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Cognitive and motivational effects of more neutral or androgynous-looking virtual characters versus more pronouncedly feminine-looking or masculine-looking virtual characters are explored. In a user study, 158 students aged 17-19 encountered four virtual characters that were visually manipulated to represent gender stereotypicality versus androgyny. One aim was to explore students’ attitudes towards the different characters as seen in how they ranked them as preferred presenters and how they articulated their arguments for doing so. Another aim was to look for patterns as to which character(s) influenced female and male students most posi-tively with respect to their attitudes towards a university level computer engineering programme. The combina-tion of these two aims allowed us to compare more conscious and articulated with less conscious and unarticu-lated, user responses. Results from the study are presented and discussed. We conclude by pointing towards future research and applications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLund University Cognitive Studies
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
  • Learning


  • femininity
  • visual design
  • masculinity
  • educational choice
  • computer engineering
  • androgynities
  • gender
  • Virtual characters


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