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European Journal of Psychology of Education

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 309–323 | Cite as

Fitting into the stereotype: How gender-stereotyped perceptions of prototypic peers relate to liking for school subjects

  • Ursula Kessels
Article

Abstract

The goal of the study was twofold: (1) to examine the relationship between the gender-stereotyped perceptions of prototypic peers excelling in different school subjects and the personal liking for these subjects; (2) to examine whether the popularity of adolescents depends on their gender-role congruent achievement at school. Participants were n=198 8th and 9th graders. Prototypical male and female peers preferring physics were conceived of as possessing more masculine and fewer feminine traits compared to prototypes favouring music. The distance between self-image and description of prototype varied according to sex and the favourite school subject the prototypic peer was associated with. Students preferred physics/music to the extent that they conceived of themselves as similar to the physics/music prototype. Analysis of variance on presumed popularity of male and female peers excelling in physical science or music showed that boys appear to sanction gender role nonconformity (disliking girls with the favourite subject physics and boys with the favourite subject music), while girls are perceived as liking peers who favour physics less than peers who favour music, regardless of their sex. Female participants excelling in physical science did report feeling unpopular with boys, whereas male participants excelling in music did not.

Key words

Academic choices Gender role Self and identity Self-to-prototype matching Stereotypes 

Résumé

Objectifs de l’étude: (1) examiner la relation entre les perceptions genre-stéréotypées prototypiques excellant dans les sujets d’école différents et l’affection personnelle pour ces sujets; (2) examiner si la popularité des adolescents dépend de leur accomplissement à l’école conformément à genre-rôle. Participants: n=198 (8èmes et 9èmes classes). Mâle et femelle prototypiques pairs préférant la physique étaient perçue comme possédant plus de traits masculin et moins de traits féminin en comparaison des prototypiques favorisant la musique. La distance entre l’image de soi et la description de prototypique varié selon le sexe et selon sujet d’ecole préférée le pair prototypique était associé. Les étudiants préféraient la physique/la musique dans la mesure où ils ont conçu soi-même comme similaire au prototype de physique/musique. L’analyse de variance sur la popularité présumée de mâle et femelle pairs excellant dans la physique ou la musique a montré que les garçons sanctionnaient la discordance de rôle de sexe (ils sont perçue comme détestant des filles avec une préférence pour la physique et les garçons avec une préférence pour la musique), tandis que les filles sont perçues comme aimant les pairs qui préférant la physique moins que pairs qui préférant la, indifféremment de leur sexe.

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Copyright information

© Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada, Lisbon, Portugal/ Springer Netherlands 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology and Educational StudiesFreie Universitaet Berlin, FB Erziehungswissenschaft und PsychologieBerlinGermany

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