Cralley and Ruscher (2005) Cralley, E. L., & Ruscher, J. B. (2005). Lady, girl, female, or woman: Sexism and cognitive busyness predict use of gender-biased nouns. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 24, 300-314

Is the use of gender-biased nouns random, or does the use of gendered nouns vary on the basis of personality and social situations? In two studies, a norm for nonbiased language was established by both the experimenter and stimulus materials. Study One demonstrated that men who are lower in modern sexism were more likely to follow the norm by selecting nouns such as "person" or "female" when describing a female target, whereas men who are higher in modern sexism were more likely to select terms such as "girl" or "lady." Study Two replicates this finding, but only when participants are not mentally occupied with a concurrent cognitive task. Cognitive busyness renders the choices of less sexist men similar to those of more sexist men, suggesting the men lower than sexism consciously and intentionally try to use less biased terms when they have the cognitive resources to do so.

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