Beyond sexist beliefs: How do people decide to use gender-inclusive language?

Sczesny, Sabine; Moser, Franziska; Wood, Wendy (2015). Beyond sexist beliefs: How do people decide to use gender-inclusive language? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 41(7), pp. 943-954. Sage 10.1177/0146167215585727

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When people use generic masculine language instead of more gender-inclusive forms, they communicate gender stereotypes and sometimes exclusion of women from certain social roles. Past research related gender-inclusive language use to sexist beliefs and attitudes. Given that this aspect of language use may be transparent to users, it is unclear whether people explicitly act on these beliefs when using gender-exclusive language forms or whether these are more implicit, habitual patterns. In two studies with German-speaking participants, we showed that spontaneous use of gender-inclusive personal nouns is guided by explicitly favorable intentions as well as habitual processes involving past use of such language. Further indicating the joint influence of deliberate and habitual processes, Study 2 revealed that language-use intentions are embedded in explicit sexist ideologies. As anticipated in our decision-making model, the effects of sexist beliefs on language emerged through deliberate mechanisms involving attitudes and intentions.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Psychology > Social Neuroscience and Social Psychology

UniBE Contributor:

Sczesny, Sabine, Moser, Franziska


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology








Sabine Sczesny

Date Deposited:

09 Feb 2016 14:09

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 14:51

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

gender stereotypes, language production, grammatical gender, gender-inclusive language, sexism




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