USFSP Master's Theses (Graduate)

Authors

Ilona Nemeth

First Advisor

Major Professor: Jennifer O’Brien, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Mark Pezzo, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Christina Salnaitis, Ph.D.

Publisher

University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Document Type

Thesis

Language

en_US

Publication Date

2017

Date Issued

March 8, 2017

Abstract

The evaluation of faces is an automatic process that involves perceiving facial features. The allocation of attention towards certain facial features can enhance the processing of faces; however, previous research has shown that evaluating ambiguous features makes faces more difficult to process resulting in lower ratings of likability and trustworthiness. Our research tested the extent to which individuals, when primed to focus attention on gender, would experience difficulty in the categorization of faces with ambiguous gender. Further, we examined how cognitive fluency impacted the devaluation of these faces, especially within the context of hireability for genderstereotyped jobs. Our first prediction was that ambiguous gender would influence cognitive fluency of faces when asked to categorize by gender. Additionally, it was predicted that when presented with gender-stereotyped employment positions, faces ambiguous in gender would be perceived as less hireable than their pure male and female counterparts. Results showed that fluency was affected for those who were primed to focus on gender in that categorizing faces by gender produced longer latencies than those categorizing by the non-ambiguous dimension of race. Results also showed that purely male or female faces were deemed overall less hireable than faces that were ambiguous on the dimension of gender. These findings suggest that although there was a significant impact of the categorization difficulty affecting the time to categorize faces for those in the gender categorization task, this disfluency did not reflect an overall devaluation of vi gender-ambiguous faces regarding hireability. The focus on the ambiguous component of gender did not make salient for participants the lack of correspondence between gendertypicality and the gender-stereotyped job roles. Though previous research suggested that gender ambiguity led to devaluation in other contexts, this effect was not seen within a hiring context. features. The allocation of attention towards certain facial features can enhance the processing of faces; however, previous research has shown that evaluating ambiguous features makes faces more difficult to process resulting in lower ratings of likability and trustworthiness. Our research tested the extent to which individuals, when primed to focus attention on gender, would experience difficulty in the categorization of faces with ambiguous gender. Further, we examined how cognitive fluency impacted the devaluation of these faces, especially within the context of hireability for genderstereotyped jobs. Our first prediction was that ambiguous gender would influence cognitive fluency of faces when asked to categorize by gender. Additionally, it was predicted that when presented with gender-stereotyped employment positions, faces ambiguous in gender would be perceived as less hireable than their pure male and female counterparts. Results showed that fluency was affected for those who were primed to focus on gender in that categorizing faces by gender produced longer latencies than those categorizing by the non-ambiguous dimension of race. Results also showed that purely male or female faces were deemed overall less hireable than faces that were ambiguous on the dimension of gender. These findings suggest that although there was a significant impact of the categorization difficulty affecting the time to categorize faces for those in the gender categorization task, this disfluency did not reflect an overall devaluation of vi gender-ambiguous faces regarding hireability. The focus on the ambiguous component of gender did not make salient for participants the lack of correspondence between gendertypicality and the gender-stereotyped job roles. Though previous research suggested that gender ambiguity led to devaluation in other contexts, this effect was not seen within a hiring context.

Comments

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of Psychology College of Arts and Sciences University of South Florida St. Petersburg

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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