Sex Roles

, Volume 49, Issue 11–12, pp 693–699 | Cite as

Gender Differences in Ways of Knowing: The Context Dependence of the Attitudes Toward Thinking and Learning Survey

  • Michelle K. Ryan
  • Barbara David


In this article we challenge the notion of stable, gender-related differences in the way people acquire and process information, with men more likely to utilize separate knowing and women connected knowing. An alternative analysis highlights malleability and the importance of social context in determining knowing style. We examined the responses of 186 women and 81 men on the Attitudes Toward Thinking and Learning Survey (ATTLS; Galotti, Clinchy, Ainsworth, Lavin, & Mansfield, 1999) across 3 contexts. Results revealed that both men and women were more likely to use connected knowing in the context of similar in-groups compared to the context of dissimilar out-groups. Gender differences were only apparent where gender was made salient. Our data support an analysis of ways of knowing as flexible and context dependent and question the notion that knowing is intrinsically related to gender.

ways of knowing gender differences self-categorization theory 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia

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