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Percept Mot Skills. 2005 Oct;101(2):339-44.

Impressions of people with gender-ambiguous male or female first names.

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  • 1Department of Psychology, Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec, J1M 1Z7, Canada.


Undergraduates (12 men, 12 women) read a scenario in which they formed an impression of nine people who had left their first name on an answering machine. Participants rated the extent to which seven characteristics (Ethical, Caring, Popular, Cheerful, Successful, Masculine, Feminine) applied to people whose first names were gender-ambiguous (e.g., Chris), male (e.g., Ken) or female (e.g., Pam). People with gender-ambiguous names were rated less Ethical than those with female names, and people with gender-ambiguous names and male names were rated less Caring, less Cheerful, and less Feminine than those with female names. These results are consistent with the idea that there is a bias towards assuming that a person of unspecified sex is a male.

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