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

See all articles by Andrea B. Hollingshead

Andrea B. Hollingshead

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

Samuel N. Fraidin

Gregory P. Joseph Law Offices LLC

Date Written: 2003

Abstract

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

Hollingshead, Andrea B. and Fraidin, Samuel N., Gender Stereotypes and Assumptions about Expertise in Transactive Memory (2003). Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, Vol. 39, pp. 355-363, 2003 , Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1802170

Andrea B. Hollingshead (Contact Author)

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://annenberg.usc.edu/Faculty/Communication%20and%20Journalism/HollingsheadA.aspx

University of Southern California - Marshall School of Business

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Los Angeles, CA California 90089
United States

Samuel N. Fraidin

Gregory P. Joseph Law Offices LLC

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New York, NY 10022
United States

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