Sex Roles

, Volume 48, Issue 11–12, pp 471–482 | Cite as

The Animal = Male Hypothesis: Children's and Adults' Beliefs About the Sex of Non–Sex-Specific Stuffed Animals

  • Jennifer R. Lambdin
  • Kristen M. Greer
  • Kari Selby Jibotian
  • Kelly Rice Wood
  • Mykol C. HamiltonEmail author


The Animal = Male Hypothesis, a variation of Silveira's People = Male Hypothesis (Silveira, 1980), was examined. In Study 1, children ages 3–10 years and adults told stories about a gender-neutral stuffed animal, in Study 2 children ages 5–6 years told stories about 3 neutral and 3 feminine animals, and in Study 3 children ages 5–7 years told stories about 2 neutral animals, observed an adult model use feminine pronouns to refer to an animal, then told stories about 2 more animals. Dependent variables were the pronouns participants used to refer to the animals and what sex they believed the animals were. Results showed strong evidence for an animal = male bias in all 3 studies among children and adults of both sexes on both dependent measures. There were few sex-related differences. The modeling intervention was not successful in reducing the bias.

language and gender sex bias in language sexist language people = male hypothesis animal = male hypothesis 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer R. Lambdin
    • 1
  • Kristen M. Greer
    • 1
  • Kari Selby Jibotian
    • 1
  • Kelly Rice Wood
    • 1
  • Mykol C. Hamilton
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre CollegeDanville

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