Its Domain and the Role of Explicitness in Title Preference


  • Thanks are due to Adriane Di Stefano for assisting in data collection and coding. Albert A. Cota is now at the Department of Psychology, Joyceville Institution, Kingston, Ontario.

Address all correspondence and reprint requests to: Kenneth L. Dion, Psychology Department, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1Al, Canada.


It was hypothesized that (a) a woman who prefers Ms. as her title of address would be seen by perceivers of both sexes as being higher on positive as well as negative instrumental qualities and also lower on positive and negative qualities of expressiveness than a woman who prefers a traditional title of address (i.e., Miss and Mrs.), and (b) explicit preference for the woman's title of address would elicit stronger trait attributions for women with different titles of address than would an implicit preference. These hypotheses were tested by having respondents rate a brief description of a female stimulus person whose title of address and explicitness of preference for the title were orthogonally varied. Scales from the Extended Personal Attributes Questionnaire were employed as measures of instrumental and expressive traits. The two hypotheses were well supported. Implications of these findings are discussed.