Effects of the generic use of the masculine pronoun and alternative forms of speech on the cognitive visibility of women

Stahlberg, Dagmar; Sczesny, Sabine (2001). Effects of the generic use of the masculine pronoun and alternative forms of speech on the cognitive visibility of women. Psychologische Rundschau, 52(3), pp. 131-140. Hogrefe 10.1026//0033-3042.52.3.131

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Feminist linguistics have postulated that a masculine pronoun that is used in a generic sense (”he“ to indicate a male or female doctor) facilitates the cognitive representation of a man compared to a woman and therefore makes women less visible. Several experimental studies have confirmed this assumption with regard to the English language. Concerning the German language this question has been addressed only in very few studies. Four experiments are presented that were conducted in Germany to determine the influence of language variations when using nouns (generic masculine: Studenten; neutral: Studierende; feminine-masculine pairs: Studentinnen und Studenten; and capital ”I“ forms: StudentInnen) on the cognitive representation of women. Consistently over studies, in the generic masculine condition we found a lower visibility of women than in the alternative language conditions ”feminine-masculine pairs“ and ”capital I“ (e.g., lower numbers of female favorite public figures or female candidates for the chancellor position in Germany).

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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

UniBE Contributor:

Sczesny, Sabine

Subjects:

100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology

ISSN:

0033-3042

Publisher:

Hogrefe

Language:

German

Submitter:

Sabine Sczesny

Date Deposited:

09 Feb 2016 14:53

Last Modified:

28 Oct 2020 09:04

Publisher DOI:

10.1026//0033-3042.52.3.131

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Generisches Maskulinum, Stereotype, Deutsche Sprache, generic masculine, stereotypes, German language

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.75313

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/75313

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