Sex stereotypes and social judgment

Anne Locksley, Eugene Borgida, Nancy Brekke, Christine Hepburn

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338 Scopus citations


Tested the assumption that sexual stereotypic beliefs affect the judgments of individuals in an experiment with 98 male and 97 female undergraduates. No evidence was found for effects of stereotypes on Ss' judgments about a target individual. Instead, Ss judgments were strongly influenced by behavioral information about the target. To explain these results, it is noted that the predicted effects of social stereotypes on judgments conform to Bayes' theorem for the normative use of prior probabilities in judgment tasks, inasmuch as stereotypic beliefs may be regarded as intuitive estimates for the probabilities of traits in social groups. Research in the psychology of prediction has demonstrated that people often neglect prior probabilities when making predictions about people, especially when they have individuating information about the person that is subjectively diagnostic of the criterion. An implication of this research is that a minimal amount of subjectively diagnostic target case information should be sufficient to eradicate effects of stereotypes on judgments. Results of a 2nd experiment with 75 female and 55 male undergraduates support this argument. (24 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)821-831
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 1980
Externally publishedYes


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