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The effect of satisfaction and gender on self-evaluations of task performance

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Previous research has found that the illusory correlation of job satisfaction and job performance may influence self-evaluations of performance. Specifically, people who think they are satisfied with a task may evaluate their task performance more favorably than those who think they are dissatisfied. Two experiments examined the effects of gender on this illusory correlation effect using college students. Satisfaction level was manipulated via descriptive feedback. In experiment 1, female students demonstrated the illusory correlation effect on a financial puzzle task whereas male students did not. That is, female students who were told that they were relatively dissatisfied with the task rated their performance on the task significantly lower than females who were told they were satisfied and than males in both conditions. Experiment 2, using a “planning a wedding” task, replicated the gender by satisfaction level interaction found in Experiment 1, and ruled out the explanation that the interaction effect was due to differences in attribution patterns or task sex typing. Results are discussed as possibly due to gender differences in self-confidence.

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Correspondence to Susan A. Basow.

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Basow, S.A., Smither, J.W., Rupert, L. et al. The effect of satisfaction and gender on self-evaluations of task performance. Sex Roles 20, 413–427 (1989). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00288000

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  • Interaction Effect
  • College Student
  • Social Psychology
  • Task Performance
  • Female Student