Exposure to Scientific Explanations for Gender Differences Influences Individuals’ Personal Theories of Gender and Their Evaluations of a Discriminatory Situation

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T1 - Exposure to Scientific Explanations for Gender Differences Influences Individuals’ Personal Theories of Gender and Their Evaluations of a Discriminatory Situation

AU - Klysing, Amanda

PY - 2019/6/3

Y1 - 2019/6/3

N2 - Gender lay theory is a framework of information interpretation related to gender categorisation and can be divided into twogeneral forms: gender essentialism versus gender as socially constructed. The present study investigated how exposure toscientifically framed explanations for gender differences affects individuals’ gender lay theory and if endorsement of an essentialist gender lay theory influences discrimination attribution. The 413 Swedish participants were exposed to scientific explanations of gender differences, with either a biological or a social constructionist perspective, or to no-explanation control. Comparedto the control condition, the social constructionist condition showed higher endorsement of a non-essentialist gender lay theory.The biological condition did not differ from the control condition, indicating that an essentialist view of gender might be theprevailing norm in Sweden. Discrimination attribution was indirectly affected by exposure to social constructionist explanationsof gender differences through increasing endorsement of a non-essentialist gender lay theory, which predicted a higher degree ofdiscrimination attribution. In other words, exposure to social constructionist explanations of gender differences predicted agreater recognition of discriminatory behaviour as such than did exposure to biological explanations or no explanation.Implications of the current study include the potential for social constructionist theories of gender to be used for educationalpurposes to increase recognition of discriminatory behaviour.

AB - Gender lay theory is a framework of information interpretation related to gender categorisation and can be divided into twogeneral forms: gender essentialism versus gender as socially constructed. The present study investigated how exposure toscientifically framed explanations for gender differences affects individuals’ gender lay theory and if endorsement of an essentialist gender lay theory influences discrimination attribution. The 413 Swedish participants were exposed to scientific explanations of gender differences, with either a biological or a social constructionist perspective, or to no-explanation control. Comparedto the control condition, the social constructionist condition showed higher endorsement of a non-essentialist gender lay theory.The biological condition did not differ from the control condition, indicating that an essentialist view of gender might be theprevailing norm in Sweden. Discrimination attribution was indirectly affected by exposure to social constructionist explanationsof gender differences through increasing endorsement of a non-essentialist gender lay theory, which predicted a higher degree ofdiscrimination attribution. In other words, exposure to social constructionist explanations of gender differences predicted agreater recognition of discriminatory behaviour as such than did exposure to biological explanations or no explanation.Implications of the current study include the potential for social constructionist theories of gender to be used for educationalpurposes to increase recognition of discriminatory behaviour.

KW - Essentialism

KW - Sweden

KW - Gender discrimination

KW - Scientific communication

KW - Gender differences

KW - Discrimination attribution

KW - Essentialism

KW - Gender discrimination

KW - Gender differences

KW - Discrimination attribution .

KW - Scientific communication

KW - Sweden

U2 - 10.1007/s11199-019-01060-w

DO - 10.1007/s11199-019-01060-w

M3 - Article

JO - Sex Roles: A Journal of Research

T2 - Sex Roles: A Journal of Research

JF - Sex Roles: A Journal of Research

SN - 0360-0025

ER -