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Gender Representations in Language: A project on the Interaction of the Generic Masculine and Stereotypical Information in Constructing a Mental Representation of Gender

Applicant Gabriel Ute
Number 109705
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Klinische Psychologie und Psychotherapie Institut für Psychologie Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.11.2005 - 31.10.2007
Approved amount 84'288.00
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Keywords (8)

Inferences; Gender; Language; Social psychology; Cognitive psychology; Stereotypes; generic masculine; gender stereotypes

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
In gender marked languages, such as French and German, the masculine formis used to refer to several persons of both sexes or to persons ofindefinite or irrelevant sex. This is known as the generic masculine. Inessence, this generic masculine should be used in a gender neutral way.However, on the assumption that language influences cognition, or morespecifically thought, it is doubtful that the masculine form can be usedin a non-gender-specific way.Grounded in both social psychological and psycholinguistic concepts, thisproject investigates people’s automatic construction of a genderrepresentation based on the generic masculine and on gender stereotypicalinformation. This project, focused on role names, evaluates theinteraction between potential biases accompanying the use of the genericmasculine and biases due to stereotypical information. Through twoexperiments, conducted in German, French and English (in collaborationwith the University of Sussex), the project attempts to shed light on theinterplay of both grammatical information (the generic masculine) andcontext information (gender stereotypical information), on genderrepresentation. Thus, this project aims to provide empirical andtheoretical arguments on the notion that language, through the use of thegeneric masculine, as well as stereotypical information, discriminatesagainst women.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
118301 Gender representations in Language: A project on the interaction of the generic masculine and stereotypical information in constructing a mental representation of gender 01.11.2007 Project funding (Div. I-III)
124624 Gender representation in language: Learning to interpret the masculine form as generic 01.09.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)