The Impact of Social Roles on Trait Judgments: A Critical Reexamination

Janine Bosak*, Sabine Sczesny, Alice H. Eagly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Consistent with social role theory's assumption that the role behavior of men and women shapes gender stereotypes, earlier experiments have found that men's and women's occupancy of the same role eliminated gender-stereotypical judgments of greater agency and lower communion in men than women. The shifting standards model raises the question of whether a shift to within-sex standards in judgments of men and women in roles could have masked underlying gender stereotypes. To examine this possibility, two experiments obtained judgments of men and women using measures that do or do not restrain shifts to within-sex standards. This measure variation did not affect the social role pattern of smaller perceived sex differences in the presence of role information. These findings thus support the social role theory claim that designations of identical roles for subgroups of men and women eliminate or reduce perceived sex differences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-440
Number of pages12
JournalPersonality and Social Psychology Bulletin
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2012


  • gender stereotypes
  • judgment
  • shifting standards
  • social perception
  • social roles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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