Who Counts as Human? Antecedents to Androcentric Behavior
- 601 Downloads
People view men as typically human, although some conditions may make this more or less likely. Language has been implicated as one factor, with masculine generic language (e.g., he used neutrally) leading to more androcentrism relative to its alternatives. However, the influence of two types of alternatives (e.g., they vs. he or she) remains unclear. The present study asked 297 male and female online participants from the United States to select typical representations of humanity from a set of White and Black male and female faces. The wording for the concept humanity was manipulated to be either a typical member of mankind, a typical human, or a typical man or woman (or woman or man). Overall, participants selected more White targets. Participants also selected more male targets, but the degree to which that was the case was affected by wording and participant’s gender. Participants, particularly male participants, in the mankind and human wording conditions were more likely to select a male target as representative, whereas in the man or woman condition, participants’ choices did not differ from chance. Thus, androcentric thinking may be more mutable than previously surmised, varying by participants’ gender and by context.
KeywordsAndrocentricism Gender differences Race and ethnic differences Humanness Language
The authors would like to acknowledge the Yale University Psychology Department for providing funding for the project.
Compliance with Ethical Standards
The present research involves human subjects; as detailed in the manuscript, the research was reviewed and approved by the Yale Human Subjects Committee.
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- American Psychological Association Publication Manual Task Force (1978). Guidelines for non-sexist language in APA journals: Publication manual change sheet 2. Educational Researcher, 7(3), 487–494.Google Scholar
- Bem, S. L. (1993). The lenses of gender: Transforming the debate on sexual inequality. New Haven, CT: Yale University.Google Scholar
- Brooks, R. R. W., & Purdie-Vaughns, V. (2007). Supermodular architecture of inclusion. Harvard Journal of Law and Gender, 30, 379–386.Google Scholar
- Center for American Women and Politics. (2013). Women in the U.S. Congress 2013. Retrieved from http://www.cawp.rutgers.edu/fast_facts/levels_of_office/documents/cong.pdf.
- de Beauvoir, S. (2010). The second sex. (Trans: C. Borde & S. Malovany-Chevallier). New York: Vintage Books. (Original work published 1949).Google Scholar
- Eagly, A. H., Wood, W., & Diekman, A. B. (2000). Social role theory of sex differences and similarities: A current appraisal. In T. Eckes & H. M. Trautner (Eds.), The developmental social psychology of gender (pp. 123–174). New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.Google Scholar
- Fiske, S. T., & Stevens, L. E. (1993). What's so special about sex? Gender stereotyping and discrimination. In S. Oskamp & M. Costanzo (Eds.), Gender issues in contemporary society: Applied social psychology annual (pp. 173–196). Newbury Park: Sage.Google Scholar
- Ginther, D. K., & Kahn, S. (2009). Does science promote women? Evidence from academia 1973–2001. In R. B. Freeman & D. F. Goroff (Eds.), Science and engineering careers in the United States: An analysis of markets and employment (pp. 163–194). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- GLAAD. (2015). Tips for allies of transgender people. Retrieved from http://www.glaad.org/transgender/allies.
- Grant, J. M., Mottet, L., Tanis, J. E., Harrison, J., Herman, J., & Keisling, M. (2011). Injustice at every turn: A report of the national transgender discrimination survey. Washington, DC: National Center for Transgender Equality.Google Scholar
- LGBTQ Resource Center. (2015). Gender pronouns. Retrieved from https://uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/gender-pronouns/.
- Schneider, J. W., & Hacker, S. L. (1973). Sex role imagery and use of the generic “man” in introductory texts: A case in the sociology of sociology. The American Sociologist, 8(1), 12–18.Google Scholar
- Tajfel, H., & Turner, J. C. (1979). An integrative theory of intergroup conflict. In W. G. Austin & S. Worchel (Eds.), The social psychology of intergroup relations (pp. 33–47). Monterey: Brooks/Cole.Google Scholar
- United States Department of Labor. (2015). Women in the labor force. Retrieved from http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/facts_over_time.htm#content.