Gender Stereotypes and Assumptions about Expertise in Transactive Memory
Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 39, pp. 355-363, 2003
9 Pages Posted: 4 Apr 2011
Date Written: 2003
This experiment investigated how people use gender stereotypes to infer the relative knowledge of interdependent others, and how those assumptions can affect the division of knowledge responsibilities in transactive memory systems. Participants indicated their expertise relative to the average male and female undergraduate student on six knowledge categories. Two of these were consistent with female stereotypes (soap operas and cosmetics), two were consistent with male stereotypes (sports and cars), and two were neutral (geography and history). Everyone then worked on a collective memorization task with an assumed partner. The design was a 2 × 2 factorial, with the participants' gender and their assumed partners' gender (same or different as the participant's) as factors. The results showed that both male and female participants shared similar gender stereotypes across knowledge domains. Participants with opposite-sex partners were more likely to assign categories based on gender stereotypes than were participants with same-sex partners. As a result, participants with opposite-sex partners learned more information in categories consistent with those stereotypes. These findings suggest that transactive memory systems may perpetuate gender stereotypes.
Keywords: Transactive memory, Stereotypes, Gender, Expertise, Group processes
JEL Classification: D70
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation