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Flattering to deceive: Why people misunderstand Benevolent Sexism

Hopkins-Doyle, Aife, Sutton, Robbie M., Douglas, Karen, Calogero, Rachel M. (2018) Flattering to deceive: Why people misunderstand Benevolent Sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 116 (2). pp. 167-192. ISSN 0022-3514. (doi:10.1037/pspa0000135) (KAR id:68976)


Perceptions of warmth play a central role in social cognition. Seven studies employ observational, correlational, and experimental methods to examine its role in concealing the functions of benevolent sexism. Together, Studies 1 (n = 297), 2 (n = 252) and 3 (n = 219) indicated that although women recall experiencing benevolent (vs. hostile) sexism more often, they protest it less often, because they see it as warm. In Studies 4 (n = 296) and 5 (n = 361), describing men as high in benevolent sexism caused them (via warmth) to be seen as lower in hostile sexism and more supportive of gender equality. In Study 6 (n = 283) these findings were replicated and extended, revealing misunderstanding of relationships between BS and a wide array of its correlates. In Study 7 (n = 211), men experimentally described as harboring warm (vs. cold) attitudes toward women were perceived as higher in benevolent sexism but lower in known correlates of benevolent sexism. These findings demonstrate that the warm affective tone of benevolent sexism, particularly when displayed by men, masks its ideological functions.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1037/pspa0000135
Uncontrolled keywords: Sexism, warmth, protest, gender, valence
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Robbie Sutton
Date Deposited: 06 Sep 2018 15:01 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 05:36 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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Hopkins-Doyle, Aife.

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Sutton, Robbie M..

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Douglas, Karen.

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Calogero, Rachel M..

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