A comparison of self-schema and gender schema theory via the multidimensional scaling of gender-related stimuli
Slonin, Matthew W. Larson
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This study was designed to compare various predictions about gender schematic individuals stemming from Sandra Bern's Gender Schema theory and Hazel Markus' Self-schema theory, using multidimensional scaling as an analytic technique. One set of predictions refers to which individuals should be classified as gender schematic. Another set of predictions pertains to whether gender schematic individuals can process the nongender-related aspects of information. Subjects were classified into one of four gender groups (androgynous, masculine, feminine, and undifferentiated) based on the paradigm developed by Markus and her colleagues in 1982 using self-relevancy judgments and response times, and confidence ratings and response times. Results indicated that gender schematic individuals were able to organize information on the basis of the nongender-related aspects of the stimuli used in this experiment. Support was provided for Markus' contention that androgynous individuals are gender schematic, and that only undifferentiated individuals can be considered truly gender aschematic. Numerous methodological problems are discussed.