Are Machines Gender Neutral? Gender-Stereotypic Responses to Computers With Voices


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Clifford Nass, Department of Communication, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305–2050. e-mail:


This study tested whether computers embedded with the most minimal gender cues will evoke gender-based stereotypic responses. Using an experimental paradigm (N = 40) that involved computers with voice output, the study tested 3 gender-based stereotypes under conditions in which all suggestions of gender were removed, with the sole exception of vocal cues. In all 3 cases, gender-stereotypic responses were obtained. Because the experimental manipulation involved no deception regarding the source of the voices. this study presents evidence that the tendency to gender stereotype is extremely powerful, extending even to stereotyping of machines.