Gender as schematic category: A role construct approach

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Linda J. Skitka
Christina Maslach
Cite this article:  Skitka, L., & Maslach, C. (1996). Gender as schematic category: A role construct approach. Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal, 24(1), 53-74.


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This study was designed to examine the kinds of unprimed constructs people use in an openended social perception task (Kelly Rep Test, Kelly, 1955). Three samples of subjects used their own natural categories or person schemes in judgments of familiar others. Results indicated that whereas the most prevalently used constructs with familiar others are best described as idiosyncratic, gender-related trait sets of Agency and Communion were used widely by most subjects, with some individual differences associated with gender role. Masculine and Feminine subjects used constructs consistent with their own gender role (Agency and Communion, respectively) more than gender role inconsistent constructs (Communion and Agency, respectively), or constructs unrelated to gender. Androgynous subjects were equally likely to use Agentic and Communal categories when describing others, and used gender-related categories overall more than undifferential subjects. Results are discussed in relationship to gender schema and self-schema theory predictions.


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