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Past research has shown that humans possess implicit or unconscious associations which, when activated, affect subsequent behavior. In three studies, I demonstrated a novel implicit association held by some men, an association between women and birds. In Study 1, I provided initial evidence of a Women-Bird association and its autonomy from other common prejudice measures. In Study 2, I demonstrated two consequences for possessing a Women-Bird association: increased sexist hiring decisions and increased dehumanization of women. For my third study, I demonstrated a causal pattern, such that activation of the Women-Bird association caused an increase in dehumanization of women, sexist hiring decisions, and perceptions that a female candidate was incompetent for those who possessed the association. Mediation analysis indicated that activation of the Women-Bird association among those who possessed the association resulted in sexist hiring decisions because these participants perceived the female candidate as less competent. These findings provide insight into a cause of bias toward women that should be accounted for when attempting to reduce discrimination toward women.
A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Psychology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Includes bibliographical references.
E. Ashby Plant, Professor Directing Dissertation; Irene Padavic, University Representative; Jon Maner, Committee Member; Mary Gerend, Committee Member; Joyce Carbonell, Committee Member.
Florida State University
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