Just Another Dumb Blonde? A Cross-Cultural Study of Implicit Hair Color Biases and Ambivalent Sexism

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Psychology | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Linda Tennison, Psychology


Previous research has identified the prevalence and impact of stereotypes in the world today. People are driven by visual cues and often categorize others on the basis of physical appearance and expect them to encompass certain traits, characteristics, and role behaviors. The present study aims to uncover the unconscious association of blondes with the dumb blonde stereotype. Sixty participants from Spain and sixty participants from the United States will take an Implicit Association Test (IAT) which operates on the assumption that response time is proportional to the difficulty of associating a target group with an attribute. Participants will classify, under time pressure, positive or negative adjectives related to beauty or intelligence or images of blonde or brunette women. It is anticipated that in both cultures implicit hair color biases will prevail, and it will be easier to associate the dumb blonde stereotype with blondes rather than brunettes. Additionally, it is believed that for participants in the United States, it will be easier to associate negative adjectives related to intelligence (i.e. stupid, gullible) with images of blonde women than it will be for participants from Spain. The research will also explore the relationship between the presence of implicit hair color biases and attitudes of ambivalent sexism. Participants will take the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (Glick and Fiske 1996) which is a 22-item assessment used as an overall measure of sexism and includes subscales to assess the separate components of hostile and benevolent sexism. It is expected that individuals from both Spain and the United States who reveal implicit hair color biases will be more likely to endorse ambivalent sexism.