CROSS-CULTURAL SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES IN DYNAMIC STEREOTYPES: A COMPARISON BETWEEN GERMANY AND THE UNITED STATES

Authors


  • Annett Wilde, Institute of Psychology, University of Koblenz-Landau; Amanda B. Diekman, Department of Psychology, Miami University.

  • We especially thank Alice Eagly for her helpful comments on this manuscript.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Amanda Diekman, Miami University, Department of Psychology, Benton Hall, Oxford OH 45056. E-mail: diekmaa@muohio.edu

Abstract

This study examined cross-cultural similarities and differences in beliefs about men and women of the past, present, and future. These dynamic stereotypes, or beliefs that a group's present characteristics differ from its past or future characteristics, correspond to the actual role change experienced by the group (Diekman & Eagly, 2000). Participants in Germany and the United States perceived that women were increasing in their masculine characteristics from the past to the future, whereas they perceived comparatively more stability in men's characteristics. The largest cross-cultural difference stemmed from beliefs about 1950s women, who were perceived as possessing greater positive masculine personality, negative feminine personality, and less feminine physical traits in Germany than in the United States. This greater nontraditionalism of postwar German women reflects their assumption of stereotypically male-dominated roles immediately after World War II. Consistent with social role theory, perceived role nontraditionalism mediated the relationship between time period and levels of gender-stereotypic characteristics.

Ancillary