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Modest Men Not Appreciated

August 14 2010 - Modest responses from men in job interviews tend to be associated with weakness and low status according to research from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, published in Psychology of Men and Masculinity. Women candidates displaying such traits are less likely to be judged in the same way.

Co-author and doctoral student Corinne A. Moss-Racusin commented:

"For men and women, there are things they must and must not be. Women must be communal and other-oriented, but they must not be dominant. Historically and cross-culturally, men have been stereotyped as more agentic, that is, more independent and self-focused than women."

Researchers recruited 132 female and 100 male psychology students who earned credit towards their course by volunteering. Participants viewed videotapes of 15-minute job interviews for a gender-neutral position requiring technical and social skills. Applicants were male and female professional actors who gave similar 'modest' responses. The study found that male candidates tended to be less liked.

However, the findings did not support the prediction that modest male applicants would be disadvantaged in the hiring process. Researchers speculate that menís inherently higher status results in them being given 'the benefit of the doubt'. Modest men are less likely to experience hiring discrimination than dominant women.

Corinne A. Moss-Racusin said:

"Women are allowed to be weak while this trait is strongly prohibited in men. By contrast, dominance is reserved for men and prohibited for women. Thus, gender stereotypes are comprised of four sets of rules, and expectations for behavior consist of both 'shoulds' and 'should nots' for each gender."


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