Gender Roles and Pressure to be Truthful: The Bogus Pipeline Modifies Gender Differences in Sexual but Not Non-sexual Behavior

Abstract

Previous studies have indicated that the research context has an influence on whether gender differences are found in sexual behavior, likely due to adherence to different gender norms for men and women. The present study utilized bogus pipeline methodology to help determine if the purported use of a lie detector would influence gender differences in reports of other types of behaviors considered more suitable for one gender or the other. Participants consisted of General Psychology students attending a regional campus of a major Midwestern university in the United States. Approximately half of 293 participants completed a questionnaire while connected to non-functioning lie detection equipment and the other half completed the questionnaire after the equipment had been disconnected. There were interactions between gender of participant and testing condition for sexual behavior but not for other types of common behaviors considered more appropriate for one gender or the other. This suggests that there is something specific to sexual behavior with regard to a differential willingness between men and women to report behavior unless there is pressure to be honest. Hypergender ideology was related to reports of sexual behavior (but not nonsexual behavior) only for men in the bogus pipeline condition, lending further support to the idea that gender role expectations influence reports of sexual behavior more than reports of other types of behavior.

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Acknowledgments

Thanks to the late Michele Alexander who assisted with the development of the primary measure, to Naomi Fisher for asking the question that inspired this study, to Philip Mazzocco who made valuable suggestions on an earlier version of this manuscript, and to Charlene Muehlenhard, who was an incredibly helpful and insightful reviewer. The lab assistants for this study were Seth Channing, Spencer Hall, Austin Hart, Kate Hoard, Jenna Hughes, Shaye McAlexander, and Martin Stull. Funding for this project was provided by a Professional Development Grant from OSU-Mansfield.

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Correspondence to Terri D. Fisher.

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Fisher, T.D. Gender Roles and Pressure to be Truthful: The Bogus Pipeline Modifies Gender Differences in Sexual but Not Non-sexual Behavior. Sex Roles 68, 401–414 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-013-0266-3

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Keywords

  • Gender roles
  • Sex roles
  • Sexual behavior
  • Bogus pipeline
  • Gender differences