The gender heuristic and the database: Factors affecting the perception of gender-related differences in the experience and display of emotions

Michael D. Robinson, Joel T. Johnson, Stephanie Shields

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

64 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two studies investigated the conditions under which people use gender stereotypes about emotion to make judgments about the emotions of self and others. Participants in Study 1 either played or watched a competitive word game (actual game conditions), or imagined themselves playing or watching the same game (hypothetical condition). Participants actually involved in the game made emotion judgments either immediately after the game (online condition) or after a time delay (delayed condition). Both in terms of self-reports of emotional experience and perceptions of the emotional displays of others, gender-related stereotypes had a significant influence on judgments of participants in the hypothetical condition but had no significant influence on online judgments. Furthermore, participants rating their own emotional experi-ences (after a 1-week delay) exhibited responses consistent with gender stereotypes, whereas participants rating the emotional displays of others (after a 1-day delay) did not show a gender-stereotypic response pattern. Study 2 found that participants rating hypothetical others were more likely to employ gender-related stereotypes of emotion than participants rating themselves were. The results of both studies suggest that people tend to use an emotion-related gender heuristic when they lack a database of concrete situational experiences on which to base their judgments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-219
Number of pages14
Journalbasic and applied social psychology
Volume20
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology

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