Sex Roles

, Volume 60, Issue 3–4, pp 269–278 | Cite as

A Latent Semantic Analysis of Gender Stereotype-Consistency and Narrowness in American English

  • Alison P. Lenton
  • Constantine Sedikides
  • Martin Bruder
Original Article


Using latent semantic analysis, we examined gender stereotypes in American English by submitting over 100 masculine, neutral, and feminine role-words and trait-words to pair-wise semantic similarity comparisons with masculine (man, he, him) and feminine (woman, she, her) referents separately. We expected to find: (a) Stereotyping—roles and traits would be more semantically similar to the ostensible ‘matching’ than ‘mismatching’ gender category referent; (b) Categorical narrowness—both categories would be less semantically similar to counterstereotypical than to neutral or stereotypical characteristics; but this would be especially so for the male category, indicating its relatively greater narrowness. Results supported these hypotheses, but only among role-words. American English reflects and reinforces gender stereotypes regarding gender roles at a level beyond that recognized previously.


Gender stereotypes Stereotype content Stereotype breadth Latent semantic analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison P. Lenton
    • 1
  • Constantine Sedikides
    • 2
  • Martin Bruder
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.University of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK
  3. 3.Cardiff UniversityCardiffUK

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