Sex Roles

, Volume 50, Issue 7–8, pp 583–591 | Cite as

Gender Role Orientation and Performance on Stereotypically Feminine and Masculine Cognitive Tasks

  • Dominik RitterEmail author


Nash (1979) argued that people tend to perform better on cognitive tasks when their gender-related self-concept is consistent with the stereotyping of the tasks. In order to evaluate Nash's hypothesis, participants were administered the S&M Mental Rotation Task, the Controlled Word Association Test, and the Bem (1974) Sex Role Inventory (BSRI). In men gender role orientation was significantly related to performance on the verbal task, with the critical factor being androgyny. When femininity and masculinity were assessed individually, femininity was found to be significantly related to the verbal task in men only. In women there was no significant variability across the gender role types in relation to performance on either task. These findings suggest that the importance of gender is dependent on the task and participants' sex. Nash's hypothesis was not supported for the mental rotation task.

gender role orientation Bem Sex Role Inventory S&M Mental Rotation Task Controlled Word Association Test 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Central LancashirePrestonUnited Kingdom

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