Gender Categories as Dual-Character Concepts?
2021; 45 (5): e12954
Seminal work by Knobe, Prasada, and Newman (2013) distinguished a set of concepts, which they named "dual-character concepts." Unlike traditional concepts, they require two distinct criteria for determining category membership. For example, the prototypical dual-character concept "artist" has both a concrete dimension of artistic skills, and an abstract dimension of aesthetic sensibility and values. Therefore, someone can be a good artist on the concrete dimension but not truly an artist on the abstract dimension. Does this analysis capture people's understanding of cornerstone social categories, such as gender, around which society and everyday life have traditionally been organized? Gender, too, may be conceived as having not only a concrete dimension but also a distinct dimension of abstract norms and values. As with dual-character concepts, violations of abstract norms and values may result in someone being judged as not truly a man/woman. Here, we provide the first empirical assessment of applying the dual-character framework to people's conception of gender. We found that, on some measures that primarily relied on metalinguistic cues, gender concepts did indeed resemble dual-character concepts. However, on other measures that depicted transgressions of traditional gender norms, neither "man" nor "woman" appeared dual-character-like, in that participants did not disqualify people from being truly a man or truly a woman. In a series of follow-up studies, we examined whether moral norms have come to replace gender role norms for the abstract dimension. Implications for the evolution of concepts and categories are explored.
View details for DOI 10.1111/cogs.12954
View details for PubMedID 34018232
Children's descriptive-to-prescriptive tendency replicates (and varies) cross-culturally: Evidence from China.
Journal of experimental child psychology
Research with U.S. samples found that children use descriptive group regularities (characteristics shared by individuals within a group) to generate prescriptive judgments (characteristics that should be shared by individuals within a group). Here, we assessed this descriptive-to-prescriptive tendency in a sample of children (ages 4-13years) and adults (ages 18-40years) from mainland China. Participants were introduced to novel groups (i.e., Hibbles and Glerks) who engaged in contrasting morally neutral behaviors (e.g., listening to different kinds of music) and then to conforming and non-conforming individuals (e.g., a Hibble who listened to music more typical of Glerks). Like U.S. children, Chinese children disapproved of non-conformity and rates of disapproval declined with age. However, compared with U.S. children, younger Chinese children (ages 4-6years) rated non-conformity more disapprovingly, and unlike U.S. adults, Chinese adults rated non-conformity more negatively than conformity. Moreover, compared with U.S. participants, Chinese participants across all age groups appealed more often to norm-based explanations when justifying their disapproval. These data provide a cross-cultural replication of children's descriptive-to-prescriptive tendency but also reveal cross-cultural variation, and they have implications for understanding the mechanisms that underlie stereotyping and normative reasoning.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jecp.2017.03.018
View details for PubMedID 28552389
Challenging fat talk: An experimental investigation of reactions to body disparaging conversations.
2017; 23: 85–92
Although "fat talk" is associated with increased eating disorder risk, the predictors of fat talk engagement and viable alternatives to these pervasive conversations remain unclear. The current experiment examined responses to fat talk versus feminist-oriented challenging fat talk scenarios. Undergraduate women (N=283) completed baseline questionnaires assessing body dissatisfaction, fat talk engagement, and positive impression management. One week later, they were randomized to view one of the two scenarios, followed by assessment of mood, fat talk engagement, social acceptability, and social likeability. Results indicated that the challenging fat talk vignette (versus the fat talk vignette) yielded less negative affect and fat talk and was perceived as more socially attractive with a more likeable target character. Baseline body dissatisfaction, baseline fat talk tendencies, and momentary negative affect predicted post-exposure fat talk engagement. Current findings highlight possibilities for implementing feminist language and psychoeducation in fat talk prevention efforts.
View details for PubMedID 28886394