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Prevalence Induced Concept Change In Gender Perceptions

Feminist theories assert that societal norms and social contexts shape our understanding of gender. We suggest that prevalence-induced concept change (Levari et al., 2018) may explain why gender identity concepts vary based on context. To examine this, participants (N=300) in the current study evaluated faces or objects for their masculinity and femininity. Some participants viewed only masculine stimuli, some viewed only feminine stimuli, and some viewed both. Participants then completed a separate task in which they rated neutral behaviors for dominance (a stereotype associated with men) and warmth (a stereotype associated with women). As expected, when participants saw a higher prevalence of masculine stimuli or feminine stimuli, faces and objects were evaluated as less gender stereotypical than when participants saw an equal prevalence of masculine and feminine stimuli. Furthermore, participants who only saw masculine stimuli rated neutral behaviors as warmer and less dominant, indicating a potential mechanism by which people are evaluated in contexts with a disparate representation of men and women.