Dynamic Stereotypes of Men and Women: A Cross-cultural Study
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Stereotypes can encompass beliefs about the past and future as well as the present (Diekman and Eagly, in press). According to the social role theory (Eagly, 1987), a group's stereotype stems from the social roles that group members typically occupy. Thus, dynamic social roles create dynamic stereotypes of that particular group. This study expanded upon previous research by comparing dynamic gender stereotypes in Brazil and Chile to those in the United States, In all three countries, women's roles have changed more than men's; we thus expected that participants would perceive the roles and characteristics of men and women as becoming increasingly similar and that stereotypes of women would be more dynamic than stereotypes of men, Men and women were perceived to converge in their characteristics from the past to the future, with women perceived to be changing more rapidly than men (Target Sex X Year interactions, ps < .0075). Participants in the three countries differed in how they perceived men and women to be changing across time, ps < .05, on all dimensions except feminine personality and masculine physical characteristics. Particularly interesting is that Latin Americans perceived men as increasing slightly in masculine personality and cognitive characteristics, whereas U.S. participants perceived little change.