Giving Directions: Gender and Perceived Quality

Authors

  • Ann Sloan Devlin

    Corresponding author
    1. Connecticut College
      Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ann Sloan Devlin, Box 5448, Department of Psychology, Connecticut College, 270 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT 06320.
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Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Ann Sloan Devlin, Box 5448, Department of Psychology, Connecticut College, 270 Mohegan Avenue, New London, CT 06320.

Abstract

Two related studies examined gender differences in directions given between 2 campus buildings (Experiment 1) and the rated quality of these directions and their authorship in terms of gender (Experiment 2). In the first experiment, 95 participants gave written directions for newcomers to their college campus. No significant gender differences were found in 6 assessment categories adapted from Ward, Newcombe, and Overton (1986). In the second experiment, 14 sets of directions from Experiment 1 were evaluated by 111 participants in a between-subjects design, half evaluating them in terms of the gender of the author and half in terms of the quality of the directions. Results indicated that length (in terms of gender) and errors (in terms of quality) most clearly differentiated the directions. The findings are discussed in terms of the schism between performance and perception.

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