Recognition of Gender Identity and Task Performance



Gender constitutes one of the fundamental distinctions that organize social interaction. It is a salient social distinction in all societies, is a core personal identity for social actors, and is often used to generate expectations for competence in task-focused mixed-sex groups. In this chapter, we explore the effect of androgynous (gender ambiguous) appearance on task performance of observers. We demonstrate that it takes longer for research participants to define the gender identity of such individuals. More importantly, we hypothesize that since androgynous individuals do not fit easily into gender schemas that people use to access information about interaction partners, the presence of an androgynous-looking person will slow performance on a cognitive task. An experimental study supports both hypotheses. We conclude with suggestions about how the presence of non-stereotypical interaction partners with ambiguous identities might influence group members' task performance, cognitive inferences about and affective responses to other group members. © 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Wisecup, AK; McPherson, M; Smith-Lovin, L

Published Date

  • December 1, 2005

Volume / Issue

  • 22 /

Start / End Page

  • 177 - 201

International Standard Book Number 10 (ISBN-10)

  • 0762312238

International Standard Book Number 13 (ISBN-13)

  • 9780762312238

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/S0882-6145(05)22007-6

Citation Source

  • Scopus