, Volume 51, Issue 3-4, pp 171-186

Constructing Gender: A Lens-Model Inspired Gender Communication Approach

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Abstract

In this experiment (n=115), I followed a lens-model approach (Brunswik, 1956) to investigate the communicative construction of gender. For this purpose, a situation was created in which gender was not clearly visible and thus existed mainly as a gender-assumption in the eye of the beholder. The study featured the perception of a team leader during a team-meeting presented in a masked video-clip and either labeled as Mr. K or Mrs. K (Goldberg-paradigm study). Results suggested that the assumption of the leader's gender (gender-assumption) had a systematic impact on trait-ratings of the leader in the unexpected direction that “women” were rated higher on agentic traits than “men.” This was interpreted as an expectancy-based double-standard effect in leadership perception on the basis of nonverbal cue utilization. Furthermore, differences in the predictive values of syntactic, semantic, and pragmatic cues were suggested in the analysis of verbal cue utilization. Overall, the lens-model perspective provides a useful framework by making perceptual and behavioral processes of gender construction more transparent.