A Ratio Measure of Sex Stereotyping

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130 Scopus citations


The goals of these two studies were (a) to develop a measure of cultural sex stereotypes and individual differences in sex stereotyping and (b) to determine the accuracy of cultural sex stereotypes. Stereotype measures were based on ratio scores. For a given attribute, the strength of a stereotype was indexed by the ratio of perceivers' estimates of the percentage of women versus men with that attribute. In Study 1, one group of subjects estimated the prevalence in men and women of 30 socially desirable traits. A second group of subjects rated themselves on the same traits, thus providing group norms that were used as criteria for accuracy. Ratio measures were found to be useful in identifying the content of cultural sex stereotypes and in assessing individual differences in stereotyping. Individual differences in stereotyping were found to generalize across a wide variety of traits. To assess accuracy, stereotypes were compared with group norms. Group norms showed only a few large sex differences on traits, although there were many small sex differences. Stereotypes were much more extreme; that is, large sex differences were assumed to exist for virtually every trait. Study 2 replicated the results of Study 1 and extended the findings to socially undesirable sex stereotypes. Implications of these results are discussed for the "kernel of truth" debate and for schema theories of stereotyping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)489-499
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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