COGNITIVE STYLES AND SEX-ROLE IDENTITY
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This study investigates the relationship between selected dimensions of cognitive style (physiognomic sensitivity, psychological differentiation, and dogmatism) and sex-role identity. Sex-role identity is defined by the specific sex-stereotyped traits which an individual considers to be characteristic of himself or herself. These traits are conceptualized as a superficial manifestation of a more formal and dynamic mode of organizing the world. The formal and dynamic aspects of personality that are associated with males and females respectively are considered (stereotypically) masculine and feminine cognitive styles.;The study explores whether an individual's sex-role identity parallels his or her gender-related cognitive styles. An attempt is made to clarify whether sex-role identity is systematically and directly related to the more global constructs of masculinity and femininity.;It was hypothesized that individuals who have an androgynous sex-role identity (i.e., have a high degree of both masculine and feminine traits) will tend to have a more flexible cognitive style. It was also hypothesized that individuals who have a masculine or feminine sex-role identity would manifest a cognitive style which is both more rigid and which is also stereotyped as masculine or feminine respectively. Within this framework, levels of dogmatism were considered to reflect rigid vs. flexible cognitive styles. Specifically, high physiognomic sensitivity and low psychological differentiation were considered stereotypically feminine, and low physiognomic sensitivity and high psychological differentiation were considered stereotypically masculine.;Subjects consisted of 86 male and 94 female undergraduate students. The results indicated that subjects characterized by an androgynous sex-role identity show significantly lower levels of dogmatism than do other subjects. The hypothesis that individuals characterized by masculine or feminine sex-role identities would also be characterized by masculine or feminine cognitive styles was not supported. However, females with a feminine sex-role identity tended to be singularly outstanding in their relatively low levels of psychological differentiation. There was also a tendency for feminine males to score relatively high and masculine females to score relatively low on the measure of physiognomic sensitivity.;Discussion of the results focused on the tendency for feminine females to lack the ability to disembed or ignore context (low psychological differentiation) and on the tendency for sex-reversed subjects of both sexes to score in a "counter-sterotyped" direction on the measure of physiognomic sensitivity. The possibility that high levels of psychological differentiation may imply insensitivity to social aspects of the environment was also explored.
- Theses and Dissertations