Forschungsprojekte (seit 2010)

Team Members

  • Sylvie Graf

Duration

  • 2016-2018

Abstract

The project aims at a better understanding of how media influence majority’s attitudes and behaviors towards immigrants – a socially pressing issue connected to rapid expansion of immigration in Europe. In the project, we focus on different aspects of media news – their valence, labels used for immigrants’ ethnicity and pictures of immigrants accompanying media articles about immigrants. We test underlying mechanisms and boundary conditions of the effects of media news. The outcomes of the project can be used to inform guidelines for professional training of journalists, policy makers, and social workers to become more sensitive to the impact of language describing immigrants.

Team Members

  • Agnieszka Pietraszkiewicz

Duration

  • 2016-2018

Abstract

People generally associate specific traits and behaviors with each gender (Eagly, 1987). Thus, women are perceived as and expected to be more communal (e.g., warm, caring), and men to be more agentic (e.g., active, determined). The attributes characterizing successful leaders are more agentic than communal, which results in a “role congruity” between male gender and leadership (Eagly & Karau, 2002). Therefore, prototypical leaders are still male rather than female, despite the fact that women are increasingly involved in leadership. The project aims to investigate whether, in spite of changes in the cultural concept of leadership which is becoming more androgynous (Koenig, Eagly, & Ristikari, 2011), the social perception of successful female CEOs is influenced by the assumed incongruity between the female role and the leader role. Another goal is to examine whether effects of this perceived incongruity remain stable or diminish over time. In other words, focusing on longitudinal changes in the perception of leaders, I will investigate whether processes of individualization (Fiske & Neuberg, 1990) reduce the aforementioned negative effects of perceived incongruity. I will examine how individualization processes influence descriptions of leaders in the media and how/if they modify the overestimation of male leaders’ personal impact on the company’s outcomes (see the romance of leadership phenomenon; Meindl, Ehrlich, & Dukerich, 1985). The project consists of two studies: Study 1 will use big data sets of media and social media texts (Twitter) to examine effects of the incongruity between female role and leader role in the descriptions of top CEOs. It will also investigate whether these effects persist over time. Study 2, which has an experimental design, will focus on the interplay of the factors time and gender in the social perception of leaders. The project is planned for a time span of 24 months.

Team Members

  • Christa Nater

Duration

  • September 2015 - April 2019

Project Information

The underrepresentation of women in decision-making positions is a persistent issue and remains crucial for societies (Barreto, Ryan, & Schmitt, 2009). Mainly, this underrepresentation is due to a lack-of-fit between the requirements of women’s gender roles and leadership roles, that is, stereotypically female personality traits do not match with the leadership role requirements (Heilman, 1983; Koenig, Eagly, Mitchell, & Ristikari, 2011). To efficiently address and resolve women’s underrepresentation in decision-making bodies, the European Union recently approved a fix gender quota regulation according to which 40% of non-executive board members in large listed companies in Europe are to be held by women in the year 2020 (European Commission Justice, 2014a). Given the forthcoming quota-based hiring decision policies within Europe, a detailed knowledge of how strict quota-feedbacks’ impact women and men is indispensable. Gender quota regulations are the most strict form of the so called affirmative action measures, as the amount of weight that is given to the demographic criteria of gender is maximal, whereas the role of the person’s qualification may be neglected (Harrison, Kravitz, Mayer, Leslie, & Lev-Arey, 2006). The consequences of such strict quota-based decisions on women and men in Europe are not yet fully understood, even though its implementation is conceivable. The outlined research aims to contribute to the indispensably required detailed knowledge of strict quota feedbacks’ impact on women and men. Firstly, I am interested in understanding the effects that different preferential treatment policies (varying in the weight that is put on the demographic criteria gender vs. on the person’s qualification) in the recruitment advertisements for leadership positions have on women’s and men’s perceived job fit and job interest (Study 1). Secondly, I will focus on whether role models (i.e., female leaders) lose their positive effect on young women striving for leadership positions, when they have been promoted to their decision-making position due to legally-binding quota policies (Study 2). Thirdly, I plan to examine the effect of different preferential treatment policies on women and men’s perceived fit, job interest, and physiological stress reaction during job interviews to gauge their reactions in a situation of high ecological validity (Study 3).

Team Members

  • Magdalena Formanowicz

Duration

  • May 2015 - April 2017

Project Information

The labor market in Western countries is characterized by gender segregation. One prominent explanation for this social phenomenon are gender biases in personnel selection. Such biases can contribute to perpetuating gender inequalities and social injustice in the labor market, and can have negative impact on the economic performance of organizations (Adams & Ferreira, 2009; Eagly & Chin, 2010; Francoeur, Labelle, & Sinclair-Desgagné, 2008). Understanding gender biases in personnel selection is crucial to develop solutions for the reduction of gender inequalities in the labor market. Past laboratory research on personnel selection used the Goldberg paradigm (1968), in which participants evaluate either a man or a woman, both equally qualified, in simulated employment contexts. A meta-analytical integration of these findings has identified gender typicality of the job as one factor that affects sex discrimination (Davison & Burke, 2000; 49 studies): Female and male applicants received lower ratings when being considered for an opposite-sex-type job. Furthermore, our preliminary investigation of the recent literature yielded a complex picture of additional factors contributing to the discrimination in personnel selection. While there is an ambiguous picture for women, with some factors decreasing and others increasing their hiring chances, the selection of men seems to be less affected by such factors. In order to clarify this complex pattern, the available research on factors affecting selection decisions about women and men needs to be integrated quantitatively in a comprehensive meta-analysis. Without such a systematic analysis of past findings, the state of research might allow for different, and even contradictory conclusions about the factors that moderate gender biases in personnel selection. The proposed meta-analysis constitutes an important extension of our knowledge on gender biases in personnel selection. This analysis will contribute to understanding how both genders are affected by various manipulations applied in laboratory and field experiments and to what extent women and men face similar or different constraints in the hiring process. This analysis will be especially informative, because our preliminary literature search identified more than 50 new studies that have been published since the last meta-analysis conducted in 2000 by Davison and Burke. To test different theoretical explanations for gender biases, a survey will be conducted to gather additional information about the manipulations in the original experiments (e.g., the subtlety of gender norm violations). The outcomes of our systematic investigation will be of high importance for explaining the limits of past research and advancing gender discrimination theories. Moreover, the meta-analysis will not only help to integrate existing findings but also allow for the precise planning of further research. Finally, it will identify factors that need to be taken into consideration when designing strategies to reduce gender biases in personnel selection.

Team Members

  • Michèle Kaufmann
  • Rahel Theiler
  • Janine Bosak (University of Dublin, since January 2009)

Duration

  • April 2006 - Juni 2010

Project Information

Gegenstand des vorliegenden Forschungsprogramms ist die zentrale Annahme der Social- Role-Theorie (Eagly,1987; Eagly, Wood, & Diekman, 2000), dass Personen in derselben Rolle (Berufstätigkeit, Tätigkeit im Haushalt etc.) ähnliche Persönlichkeits- eigenschaften zugeschrieben werden, und zwar unabhängig von ihrer Zugehörigkeit zu einer bestimmten Gruppe (Geschlecht, Hautfarbe etc.). Diese Annahme impliziert, dass Informationen zur beruflichen oder familiären Rolle maßgeblich den Prozess der Stereotypisierung reduzieren oder sogar unterbinden können, indem sie die Diagnostizität anderer Merkmale wie beispielsweise Geschlecht für den Beurteilungs- prozess herabsetzen. Empirische Untersuchungen belegen, dass beispielsweise berufstätigen Männern und Frauen in ähnlicher Weise instrumentelle Eigenschaften wie Durchsetzungsfähigkeit und Risikofreude zugeschrieben werden, im Haushalt tätigen Männern und Frauen in ähnlicher Weise expressive Eigenschaften wie Einfühlsamkeit und Hilfsbereitschaft (z.B. Eagly & Steffen, 1984, 1986). Kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass bei dieser Beurteilung tatsächlich keine Geschlechtsstereotype wirksam sind? Aktuelle empirische Befunde zum Shifting-Standards-Modell (Biernat, 2003; Biernat, Manis, & Nelson, 1991) legen nahe, dass derartige rollentheoretische Interpretationen kritisch zu hinterfragen sind. Zur Überprüfung der Social-Role-Theorie sollen daher in drei experimentellen Studien die Effekte von Rolle und Geschlecht überprüft werden (vgl. Studie 1 bis 3). Durch die Einbeziehung verschiedener potentieller Moderatoren soll im Rahmen einer Prozessanalyse in vier weiteren experimentellen Studien untersucht werden, inwieweit die jeweilige Stärke und Richtung der Effekte von Rolle und Geschlecht von Merkmalen der Wahr- genommenen, der Wahrnehmenden oder der Situation abhängig sind (vgl. Studie 4 bis 7).Gegenstand des vorliegenden Forschungsprogramms ist die zentrale Annahme der Social- Role-Theorie (Eagly,1987; Eagly, Wood, & Diekman, 2000), dass Personen in derselben Rolle (Berufstätigkeit, Tätigkeit im Haushalt etc.) ähnliche Persönlichkeits- eigenschaften zugeschrieben werden, und zwar unabhängig von ihrer Zugehörigkeit zu einer bestimmten Gruppe (Geschlecht, Hautfarbe etc.). Diese Annahme impliziert, dass Informationen zur beruflichen oder familiären Rolle maßgeblich den Prozess der Stereotypisierung reduzieren oder sogar unterbinden können, indem sie die Diagnostizität anderer Merkmale wie beispielsweise Geschlecht für den Beurteilungs- prozess herabsetzen. Empirische Untersuchungen belegen, dass beispielsweise berufstätigen Männern und Frauen in ähnlicher Weise instrumentelle Eigenschaften wie Durchsetzungsfähigkeit und Risikofreude zugeschrieben werden, im Haushalt tätigen Männern und Frauen in ähnlicher Weise expressive Eigenschaften wie Einfühlsamkeit und Hilfsbereitschaft (z.B. Eagly & Steffen, 1984, 1986). Kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass bei dieser Beurteilung tatsächlich keine Geschlechtsstereotype wirksam sind? Aktuelle empirische Befunde zum Shifting-Standards-Modell (Biernat, 2003; Biernat, Manis, & Nelson, 1991) legen nahe, dass derartige rollentheoretische Interpretationen kritisch zu hinterfragen sind.

Zur Überprüfung der Social-Role-Theorie sollen daher in drei experimentellen Studien die Effekte von Rolle und Geschlecht überprüft werden (vgl. Studie 1 bis 3). Durch die Einbeziehung verschiedener potentieller Moderatoren soll im Rahmen einer Prozessanalyse in vier weiteren experimentellen Studien untersucht werden, inwieweit die jeweilige Stärke und Richtung der Effekte von Rolle und Geschlecht von Merkmalen der Wahr- genommenen, der Wahrnehmenden oder der Situation abhängig sind (vgl. Studie 4 bis 7).Gegenstand des vorliegenden Forschungsprogramms ist die zentrale Annahme der Social- Role-Theorie (Eagly,1987; Eagly, Wood, & Diekman, 2000), dass Personen in derselben Rolle (Berufstätigkeit, Tätigkeit im Haushalt etc.) ähnliche Persönlichkeits- eigenschaften zugeschrieben werden, und zwar unabhängig von ihrer Zugehörigkeit zu einer bestimmten Gruppe (Geschlecht, Hautfarbe etc.). Diese Annahme impliziert, dass Informationen zur beruflichen oder familiären Rolle maßgeblich den Prozess der Stereotypisierung reduzieren oder sogar unterbinden können, indem sie die Diagnostizität anderer Merkmale wie beispielsweise Geschlecht für den Beurteilungs- prozess herabsetzen. Empirische Untersuchungen belegen, dass beispielsweise berufstätigen Männern und Frauen in ähnlicher Weise instrumentelle Eigenschaften wie Durchsetzungsfähigkeit und Risikofreude zugeschrieben werden, im Haushalt tätigen Männern und Frauen in ähnlicher Weise expressive Eigenschaften wie Einfühlsamkeit und Hilfsbereitschaft (z.B. Eagly & Steffen, 1984, 1986). Kann davon ausgegangen werden, dass bei dieser Beurteilung tatsächlich keine Geschlechtsstereotype wirksam sind? Aktuelle empirische Befunde zum Shifting-Standards-Modell (Biernat, 2003; Biernat, Manis, & Nelson, 1991) legen nahe, dass derartige rollentheoretische Interpretationen kritisch zu hinterfragen sind.
Zur Überprüfung der Social-Role-Theorie sollen daher in drei experimentellen Studien die Effekte von Rolle und Geschlecht überprüft werden (vgl. Studie 1 bis 3). Durch die Einbeziehung verschiedener potentieller Moderatoren soll im Rahmen einer Prozessanalyse in vier weiteren experimentellen Studien untersucht werden, inwieweit die jeweilige Stärke und Richtung der Effekte von Rolle und Geschlecht von Merkmalen der Wahr- genommenen, der Wahrnehmenden oder der Situation abhängig sind (vgl. Studie 4 bis 7).

Principal Investigator

  • Krings Franciska

Team Members

  • Michèle Kaufmann

Duration

  • January 2015 - December 2017

Project Information

Population aging presents various challenges to societies as well as economies and leads to a more age-diversified workforce. One problem connected with the aging population is that younger and older individuals are evaluated and treated differently, due to age stereotyping. For example, older job candidates are systematically devaluated and hired less frequently than younger ones. However, despite the fact that there is consistent evidence for age discrimination in past research, the question of how age leads to discrimination in personnel selection procedures is difficult to answer because one crucial factor has been neglected: age appearance. Age appearance (i.e., the question how old someone looks) is likely to have a powerful impact on selection decisions, because appearance strongly influences first impressions and social judgments. Research on the effects of age-related facial (e.g., wrinkles) and extra-facial features (e.g., grey hair) has shown that age appearance is a salient basis for social judgments and influences the perception of individuals. The proposed research therefore aims to investigate the impact of the two sources of age information, namely objective age (as indicated by a person’s age in years) and appearance-age (as indicated by a person’s physical age appearance), on personnel selection, as well as their underlying mechanisms and their boundary conditions. Ultimately, the findings to be obtained in the proposed seven experimental studies will lay the ground for deriving a comprehensive model of age discrimination at employment that includes both sources of age information as well as the involved mechanisms.

Team Members

  • Agnieszka Pietraszkiewicz

Duration

  • 2013 - 2014

Project Information

...

Team Members

  • Michèle Kaufmann

Duration

  • October 2011 - August 2015

Project Information

The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions is a persistent problem and remains a crucial issue for societies (Barreto, Ryan, & Schmitt, 2009). One possible mechanism that contributes to the persistence of this social phenomenon is gender stereotyping (Eagly & Sczesny, 2008). Gender stereotypes contain three types of aspects (Prentice & Carranza, 2002): descriptive aspects, e.g., women are emotional, prescriptive aspects, e.g., women should be friendly, and proscriptive aspects, e.g., women should not be ruthless. The violation of such normative expectancies through counter-stereotypical behaviour can result in social and economic sanctions, known as backlash effects (Rudman, 1998). Especially proscriptive norms can trigger backlash effects due to their association with status (Rudman, Phelan, Moss-Racusin, & Nauts, submitted). Moreover, individuals violating gender-stereotypical expectancies report fear of backlash (Rudman & Fairchild, 2004) and persons exposed to stereotypes experience stress-induced physiological arousal (Schmader, Johns, & Forbes, 2008). When women strive for positions of leadership, they face an impression management dilemma (Eagly & Karau, 2002): They have to display both agentic behaviour (e.g., assertiveness) and communal behaviour (e.g., kindness) to overcome the "lack of fit" between female stereotypes and stereotypes of leaders. If they violate gender norms, however, they risk backlash. The immediate impact of gender norms on women's and men's emotional, cognitive, and behavioural reactions while striving for powerful positions, however, are unknown. Therefore the present research aims at investigating 1) the impact of gender norms on self-reported and psychophysiological stress reactions in women and men in leadership selection procedures, and 2) to what extent cognitive and motivational strategies, such as the description of a successful role model or an induced promotion focus, counteract such negative consequences. The effect of gender norms on stress reactions will be investigated in a novel interdisciplinary way using a unique combination of theoretical approaches and methods from social and biological psychology (including self-report, behavioural, and psychophysiological stress measures). The project will contribute to an integrative model explaining the role of gender norms in situations where women and men are striving for powerful positions.

Team Members

  • Magdalena Formanowicz

Duration

  • 2012 - 2013

Project Information

Gender-fair policies include the introduction of guidelines for the use of language. Recommendations advocate the equal representation of women and men and suggest to refrain from using a masculine generic form (e.g. chairman) as referring to men and women. Masculine generics are to be substituted by either gender-neutral terms (e.g. chair) or feminine-masculine word-pairs (e.g. Leserinnen und Leser). The criticism of masculine generics is supported by evidence from numerous studies on English, German, and French. The studies have verified that when categories are referred to with masculine generics (e.g. Musiker), respondents name mostly male exemplars. When asked to recall representatives of occupations referred to with a feminine-masculine word-pair (e.g. Musikerinnen und Musiker), respondents mention significantly more females. However, there is also evidence that the use of feminine forms in referring to women (e.g. Professorin) may deteriorate the perception of their expertise in comparison to masculine generics. The feminine form indicates the referent’s sex, therefore it may push the perception of women in a stereotypical direction. The feminine label may act as a trigger to perceive woman through the lenses of gender pre- and proscriptions (should be caring for others, but not dominating or striving for career). 

Confronted with the contradictory effects of the feminizing strategy in language, two research directions are suggested to clarify the role of linguistic conditions which increase or decrease gender equality (Line A). It will be also investigated how language is actually used when referring to females and which factors influence the linguistic practice (Line B). To maximize the input of the project for theoretical and applied domains, a cross-cultural and multi-method approach will be employed. 

Homepage

Scientific Coordinator

  • Sabine Sczesny, University of Bern
  • Rachel Jossen (project manager), University of Bern

Training Supervisor

  • Lisa Irmen, University of Heidelberg

Partners

  • Bettina Hannover, Free University Berlin
  • Jana Valdrová, University of Budweis
  • Pascal Gygax, University of Fribourg
  • Manuel Carreiras, Basque Center on Cognition, Brain & Language
  • Cristina Cacciari, University of Modena
  • Anne Maass and Lorella Lotto, University of Padova
  • Jane Oakhill and Alan Garnham, University of Sussex
  • Ute Gabriel, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim

Team Members

  • Rachel Jossen (project manager)
  • Lisa Horwath (research fellow)
  • Sara Köser (research fellow)
  • Lea Hodel

Duration

  • October 2009 - October 2013

Project Information

The Marie Curie Initial Training Network - Language, Cognition, and Gender (ITN LCG) investigates European languages from an interdisciplinary perspective to expand current knowledge of how language influences and forms the cognitive representations of women and men. To enhance the scientific understanding of this topic, ITN LCG provides a research program and a structured training program for 15 early stage researchers (ESR) and 3 experienced researchers (ER). The interplay of Language, Cognition, and Gender is investigated from cross-language and cross-cultural perspectives by partners from 10 universities of the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom and associated partners from public and private sectors.