, Volume 25, Issue 11-12, pp 607-623

Boys will be boys (and girls will be girls): The attribution of gender role stereotypes in a gaming situation

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This study tested one hypothesis concerning the attribution of gender role stereotypes about competitive behavior and three hypotheses concerning differences in attribution of sex between male and female subjects. The study used a Prisoner's Dilemma Game setting to expose subjects to one of three conditions (competitive, cooperative, or tit-for-tat) to measure attribution of sex to an unknown confederate. A chi-square analysis revealed significant differences in the attribution of sex to the anonymous confederate between the competitive and the combined cooperative and tit-for-tat groups. In the competitive condition, subjects were more prone to think that the anonymous confederate was male than were subjects in the cooperative and tit-for-tat condition. This finding is consistent with the gender role stereotype that generally associates competitive behavior with masculinity and not with femininity. Post hoc chi-squares also revealed no difference between male and female subjects in the attribution of sex in any of the three conditions. Implications of these findings are discussed.