Encyclopedia of Evolutionary Psychological Science

Living Edition
| Editors: Todd K. Shackelford, Viviana A. Weekes-Shackelford

Gender Schema Theory

  • Carol Lynn Martin
  • Rachel E. Cook
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-16999-6_208-1



Gender schemas are cognitive structures that organize information about gender.


Scientists have long sought to explain gender differences in a number of phenomena – for instance, in relationships, interests, activity level, and communication styles. Cognitive approaches, including gender schema theory, have been proposed to address the development of such gender differences by explaining the cognitive processes underlying gender typing.

As discussed here, gender consists of the individual identification with and societal roles assigned to male and female groups, which differs from sex, the biological components of humans such as reproductive systems and secondary sex characteristics. Thus, gender typing (i.e., matching a gendered prototype) is the process by which individuals become differentiated by gender in their behaviors, preferences, and cognitions. Although biological predispositions and consistent socialization...

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Arizona State UniversityTempeUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Tara DeLecce
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyOakland UniversityRochesterUSA