We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham Research Online
You are in:

Interactive effects of sex hormones and gender stereotypes on cognitive sex differences – a psychobiosocial approach.

Hausmann, M. and Schoofs, D. and Rosenthal, H. E. S. and Jordan, K. (2009) 'Interactive effects of sex hormones and gender stereotypes on cognitive sex differences – a psychobiosocial approach.', Psychoneuroendocrinology., 34 (3). pp. 389-401.


Biological and social factors have been shown to affect cognitive sex differences. For example, several studies have found that sex hormones have activating effects on sex-sensitive tasks. On the other hand, it has been shown that gender stereotypes can influence the cognitive performance of (gender-) stereotyped individuals. However, few studies have investigated the combined effects of both factors. The present study investigated the interaction between sex hormones and gender stereotypes within a psychobiosocial approach. One hundred and fourteen participants (59 women) performed a battery of sex-sensitive cognitive tasks, including mental rotation, verbal fluency, and perceptual speed. Saliva samples were taken immediately after cognitive testing. Levels of testosterone (T) were analysed using chemiluminescence immunoassay (LIA). To activate gender stereotypes, a questionnaire was applied to the experimental group that referred to the cognitive tasks used. The control group received an identical questionnaire but with a gender-neutral content. As expected, significant sex differences favouring males and females appeared for mental rotation and verbal fluency tasks, respectively. The results revealed no sex difference in perceptual speed. The male superiority in the Revised Vandenberg and Kuse Mental Rotations Tests (MRT-3D) was mainly driven by the stereotype-active group. No significant sex difference in MRT-3D appeared in the control group. The MRT-3D was also the task in which a strong gender-stereotype favouring males was present for both males and females. Interestingly, T levels of the stereotype-activated group were 60% higher than that of male controls. The results suggest that sex hormones mediate the effects of gender stereotypes on specific cognitive abilities.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Cognitive sex differences, Gender stereotypes, Mental rotation, Perceptual speed, Stereotype threat, Testosterone, Verbal fluency.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
Publisher Web site:
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:No date available
Date of first online publication:April 2009
Date first made open access:No date available

Save or Share this output

Look up in GoogleScholar