Date of Award

5-1-2017

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Etcheverry, Paul

Abstract

Contradictory views of nontraditional women provide a backdrop for differing perceptions of policewomen. After reading a vignette of a traffic stop by either a policewoman or a policeman who had either made a mistake or not a mistake in pulling participants over, 230 MTurk participants provided their anticipated affective, behavioral, and cognitive perceptions of the police officer that pulled them over and gave them a traffic ticket. Anticipated affective, behavioral, and cognitive perceptions for policewomen and policemen diverged for those high in hostile sexism and those high in benevolent sexism. Those high in hostile sexism perceive policewomen less warm than those who scored low in hostile sexism. Individuals high in benevolent sexism who read about interacting with a policewoman who made a mistake were more likely to produce positive behaviors compared to a policewoman who had not made a mistake. Additionally, those high in benevolent sexism who read about interacting with a policewoman were more likely to have a negative affective reaction about the situation compared to those who interact with a policeman. This study replicates the past research on ambivalent sexism, such that those high in hostile sexism revere traditional women and dislike nontraditional women while those high in benevolent sexism are overall more positive towards women but in a condescending manner. Additionally, this study extends ambivalent sexism theories into police research suggesting that citizens will react to a policewoman in line with their level of ambivalent sexism.

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