A reaction time study testing interactions between gender and the psychological reality of the vertical image schema for hierarchy

Heritage, Frazer and Littlemore, Jeannette and Duffy, Sarah (2016) A reaction time study testing interactions between gender and the psychological reality of the vertical image schema for hierarchy. In: UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference 2016, 2016-07-192016-07-22, Bangor University.

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Abstract

According to the embodied metaphor hypothesis, metaphor is thought to derive unconsciously from experiential gestalts relating to our body’s movements, its orientation in space, and its interactions with objects (Johnson, 1987). One embodied metaphor suggests that POWER IS UP and LACK OF POWER IS DOWN. Reaction time studies have shown that people judge a group’s social power to be greater when the group is presented at the top of a computer screen than when it is presented in the lower part of the screen (Schubert, 2005). In our study, we factored gender into Schubert’s experiment by including matched pairs of gendered prompts, such as waiter/waitress, maid/manservant, king/queen, and so on. Our hypothesis was that the relationship between the prompt’s power and its position in the hierarchy would be even stronger when powerful, male prompts appear at the top of the screen and when less powerful, female prompts appear at the bottom of the screen. Such a finding would provide empirical evidence for a subconscious gender bias in our participants. We were also interested to see whether such a bias is equally strong for male, female and transgender participants. 60 participants (25 male, 25 female and 10 transgender) participated in a reaction time study to measure the relationship between gender, vertical positioning and perceptions of hierarchy. In this paper, we report the findings from our study and discuss their implications

Item Type:
Contribution to Conference (Paper)
Journal or Publication Title:
UK Cognitive Linguistics Conference 2016
ID Code:
124966
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
01 May 2018 10:58
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
11 Sep 2020 00:18