Gender, the Perception of Aggression, and the Overestimation of Gender Bias

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate how the gender of aggressor, target, and observer influences the perception and evaluation of aggression. One hundred seventy-one university students (predominantly White) read 1 of 8 vignettes that described an aggressive act. The aggressor–target gender combinations and the aggressive act were varied. Data did not support the hypothesis that, because of the impact of gender stereotypes, participants would perceive more aggressiveness in men's aggression than in women's aggression. Participants rated women's aggression as more acceptable than men's aggression, and male participants considered the aggression more acceptable, apparently because they saw the act as less aggressive. In addition, participants estimated how most men/women would perceive and evaluate the aggression. Results suggest that people overestimate how biased others are toward members of their own gender.

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Stewart-Williams, S. Gender, the Perception of Aggression, and the Overestimation of Gender Bias. Sex Roles 46, 177–189 (2002). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1019665803317

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  • gender
  • social perception
  • schemas
  • stereotypes
  • aggression
  • violence
  • ingroup-outgroup biases