The Effects of Gender-Stereotyped Radio Commercials1


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    The authors thank two anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticisms of an earlier version of this manuscript.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Kevin Durkin, who is now at Department of Psychology, University of Strathclyde, 40 George Street, Glasgow G1 1QE, United Kingdom. E-mail:


It is well established that mass-media content often presents strong traditional gender stereotypes, but relatively little is known of the effects of exposure to such content. This study investigates the impact of gender-stereotyped radio commercials on listeners' self-ratings of masculinity and femininity and on the efficiency with which they performed memory tasks that included gender-stereotyped trait terms. No effect on self-rating was obtained. Clear effects on information processing efficiency were found, with participants exposed to the stereotyped commercials showing superior performance on memory for trait words and on a secondary task. It is concluded that repetitive exposure to gender stereotypes via the media does promote the accessibility of stereotype-related cognitions.