Sexist discrimination as distancing behavior: I. a laboratory demonstration

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Attitudes toward and beliefs about women have been studied but investigations of behavior directed toward women in simple interpersonal situations have been relatively infrequent, in this study, ten previously unacquainted pairs of men, ten pairs of women, and twenty mixed-gender pairs were observed during a 10-minute task in which each pair constructed a domino structure for a contest. Under these laboratory conditions in which sexual arousal and nurturance cues were minimal it was predicted that men would behave differently toward women partners than toward men partners by manifesting avoidance or distancing behavior more frequently, but that women's responses to other—gender and same—gender partners would not be reliably different. Dependent measures were obtained by self—report and by ratings of observers who watched the dyadic interaction behind a one-way vision screen. As predicted, women in mixed-gender pairs did not differ significantly from those in same-gender pairs on any measure, but men were found to distance themselves from a woman partner (as compared to a man) by turning their faces or bodies away and making negative comments, by not following advice, and by placing dominoes closer to themselves. © 1987, American College of Veterinary Pathologists. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Psychology of Women Quarterly