The Sex and Gender Role Differences in Exploration

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The Sex and Gender Role Differences in Exploration and Curiosity T. Beth Carroll Crystal

The Sex and Gender Role Differences in Exploration and Curiosity T. Beth Carroll Crystal Ann Fravel Frank White Amy R. Childress Radford University

Previous Research • Corrine Hutt (1970) • Identified sex differences in curiosity, exploration, and

Previous Research • Corrine Hutt (1970) • Identified sex differences in curiosity, exploration, and play in young children • Found that males demonstrate more exploratory behaviors than females

Previous Research (cont. ) • Mc. Loyd and Ratner (1983) • Also identified sex

Previous Research (cont. ) • Mc. Loyd and Ratner (1983) • Also identified sex differences in curiosity, exploration, and play in young children • When they controlled for genderedness of novel objects, sex differences disappeared. • Males explored the novel object more when presented in a masculine context and females explored more in a feminine context.

Previous Research (cont. ) • Bem (1973, 1981) • Suggest that the distinction between

Previous Research (cont. ) • Bem (1973, 1981) • Suggest that the distinction between male and female is an organizing tool within our human processing. • Few studies have investigated the influence of gender and role adherence on exploration and curiosity. • The present studies investigate differences in adult exploration and curiosity predicted by sex and gender roles.

Exploration • Specific exploration answers the question of “what is it and what does

Exploration • Specific exploration answers the question of “what is it and what does it do”. • Exploration in Adulthood Studies have focused on: – Competence in work – Attitudes towards curiosity and novelty – Information Seeking Behavior

Our Study The present study focuses on: • Exploration of novel objects • Perceived

Our Study The present study focuses on: • Exploration of novel objects • Perceived academic competence and anxiety • Attitudes toward working with others in college • Attitudes toward novelty and physical exploration of the college environment

Our Hypotheses • Because there is more variation within the sexes than between the

Our Hypotheses • Because there is more variation within the sexes than between the sexes, gender roles may be a better predictor of exploratory behavior than sex. • Androgynous gender roles, because they are linked to flexibility, will be associated with higher levels of exploration. • Masculinity, because of it’s instrumental nature, will be associated with focusing on academic tasks and exploration of novel objects. • Femininity, because of it’s expressive nature, will be associated with focusing on exploration of social aspects of college.

Participants and Procedures • Participants were 70 Introductory Psychology students • They participated individually

Participants and Procedures • Participants were 70 Introductory Psychology students • They participated individually in one hour sessions. • Participants completed a series of questionnaires as part of a larger study. • Participants were given an unstated opportunity to explore several puzzle cubes.

Measures • Self Report of Exploration in College that was a 52 item measure.

Measures • Self Report of Exploration in College that was a 52 item measure. It was made up of ten subscales, five of which were included in the present study. Mean SD – – – Academic Competence Social vs. Academic Orientation Comfort Seeking Assistance Exploration of the Campus Approach to Novelty and Challenge 5. 22 4. 48 5. 53 4. 31 4. 56 1. 03 1. 02 1. 22 1. 31 0. 93

 • The Bem Sex Roles Inventory (Bem, 1973) Mean SD Alpha – Masculinity

• The Bem Sex Roles Inventory (Bem, 1973) Mean SD Alpha – Masculinity Males Females . 81 5. 31 4. 85 . 5502. 6726 – Femininity . 83 Males 4. 87 . 5050 Females 5. 15 . 6362

Behavioral Measure of Exploration • During a 5 min. period, ostensibly not part of

Behavioral Measure of Exploration • During a 5 min. period, ostensibly not part of the study, participants were given an opportunity to explore 5 puzzle toys. • Participants were unobtrusively videotaped • After a 20 minute delay, participants completed a recognition task where they discriminated between 5 test items and 5 similar distractors.

Scoring of Exploratory Behavior • Perseverance Mean SD 66. 09 58. 76 – Mean

Scoring of Exploratory Behavior • Perseverance Mean SD 66. 09 58. 76 – Mean of two longest manipulations • Total Time 166. 30 127. 65 – Sum of all manipulations • Involvement 17. 56 7. 70 – Interest and complexity of exploration • % Targets Correct 3. 93 – Number of original toys correctly identified . 9974

Correlations between Gender Role and Self-Report Exploration Measures Masculinity Total Males Femininity Total Males

Correlations between Gender Role and Self-Report Exploration Measures Masculinity Total Males Femininity Total Males Females Novelty Seeking . 26* . 13 . 36* . 09 . 16 . 00 Campus Exploration . 08 -. 10 . 18 . 22+ . 09 . 29+ Assistance Seeking . 35**. 40* . 32+ . 26* . 27 . 22 Academic Competence. 40**. 12 . 58*** . 17 . 30+ . 06 Social vs. Academic Orientation -. 09 . 24* . 32+ . 20 -. 06 -. 02 Note. Total df=68, Male df=32, Female df=34 + = p<. 10, * = p<. 05, ** = p<. 01, *** = p<. 001

Differences in Male and Female Exploratory Behavior Sex Male Female t ______________________________ Perseverance 80.

Differences in Male and Female Exploratory Behavior Sex Male Female t ______________________________ Perseverance 80. 85 (59. 99) 52. 15 (56. 80) 2. 09* Total Time 199. 33 (123. 54) 135. 11 (125. 19) 2. 16* Involvement 19. 68 (7. 26) 15. 55 (7. 66) 2. 31* 3. 58 (1. 0522) 3. 17** Percent Targets 4. 29 Correctly Identified (. 7988) * = p<. 05, ** = p<. 01

Mean Self Report of Academic Competence for BSRI Categories Females Only • F(3, 32)=4.

Mean Self Report of Academic Competence for BSRI Categories Females Only • F(3, 32)=4. 38 • F < M, A M F A U N= 14 15 24 17

Mean Self Report of Academic Competence for BSRI Categories Males Only • F(3, 30)=3.

Mean Self Report of Academic Competence for BSRI Categories Males Only • F(3, 30)=3. 10 • U

Mean Self Report of Comfort Seeking Assistance for BSRI Categories Males Only • F(3,

Mean Self Report of Comfort Seeking Assistance for BSRI Categories Males Only • F(3, 30)=3. 51 • M, A > F, U M F A U N= 14 15 24 17

Overall Findings • Exploration Self Reports – Masculinity was related to seeking novelty and

Overall Findings • Exploration Self Reports – Masculinity was related to seeking novelty and challenge (for females) – Femininity was related to exploring social aspects of the campus environment (for females) – Having non-traditional gender roles was associated with reporting greater academic competence – Femininity (for males) was related to a more social orientation. – Masculinity and Androgyny related to greater comfort with seeking assistance

Overall Findings Cont. • Exploratory Behavior – Males demonstrated more exploratory behavior and better

Overall Findings Cont. • Exploratory Behavior – Males demonstrated more exploratory behavior and better performance on a recognition task. -Why do females show less exploration? Hypothesis 1 – Genderedness of Puzzles - Toys do not seem clearly masculine. - Mc. Loyd & Ratner (1983) offer a system for classifying toys as masculine and feminine. The items used in the present study possessed features of both categories.

Overall Findings Cont. – Hypothesis 2 – Gender socialization - Females may feel more

Overall Findings Cont. – Hypothesis 2 – Gender socialization - Females may feel more pressure to respect interpersonal boundaries • However, Femininity (endorsing a traditional gender role) was not significantly associated with exploratory behavior.