Karen J. Prager, Ph.D., A.B.P.P.
Professor of Psychology and Program Head for Gender Studies
Diplomate in Family Psychology
The University of Texas at Dallas
More Information About Dr. Prager's work
Back to Psychology of Gender
GENDER IN INTERACTION
Overview1) Gender is a set of ideas (schemas) and a set of normative behaviors
2) Gender schemas are outside of awareness yet affect perception, interpretation, and memory
3) Gender schemas lead us to treat women and men differently
4) People respond to different treatment by behaving differently
5) Gendered behaviors may reflect different statuses and roles
The self-fulfilling prophecy:
How does self-fulfilling prophecy process work?
A self-perpetuating cycle that requires effort to change.
The Cognitive Component:
Gender schemas: Conscious and unconscious.
Prior knowledge affects perceptions
Stereotypes are part of prior knowledge
Situations prime schemas for use.
Outside of awareness.
The behavioral component
Men and women are treated differently.
During group discussions
The interaction between schemas and behavior:
Expectancy confirmationRefers to how the self-fulfilling prophecy process
confirms the content of our schemas.
Confirmation: our stereotypes are supported by
what we observe in the other person.
We may be wrong: We may think our
stereotypes are being confirmed when something else
entirely is going on.
The effects of roles & status on behaviorSocial roles themselves constrain behavior.
We choose (some) situations because of our personalities.
Those situations then shape our personalities.
ambiguous situations:Others' roles and status affect attributions.
When role & status are unknown, we are most likely
to rely on stereotypes.
We understand them by using stereotypes.
When we see sex-typed behavior, how do we explain it to ourselves?1) The fundamental attribution error.
Behavior is due to disposition rather than role.
2) Error based on group consensus
Assuming common social constructions are true
because they are common.
3) Valuing what is common:
Assuming common social constructions reflect
That which is familiar is that which is right & good.