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Research project

Does Gender Status Bias Carry Over from In-Person to Virtual Interaction?

This project has received funding via the EUI ESR call 2022, dedicated to Early Stage Researchers.

Previous studies have shown how status-based performance expectations for women and men can be self-fulfilling, leading to actual gender differences in performance. However, these studies have exclusively focused on in-person settings. As many social practices are becoming digitalised, the question arises whether these effects carry over to the realm of virtual interaction (i.e., video conferencing). While previous research suggests that status effects may be dampened in video conferencing due to the limited visual status cues, we argue that several features of video conferencing will still render gender salient and evoke status processes. To test this argument, we conducted a preregistered experiment in which we randomised participants into either an in-person or video conferencing condition. In the in-person condition, we replicated an experiment published in this journal on (1) implicit status ranking (when competence is inferred from gender) and (2) explicit status ranking (when people’s relative competence is explicitly given). In the video conferencing condition, we tested whether these findings hold when interaction occurs via Zoom. Participants engaged in a time-limited real-effort task, which required identifying and summing two numbers from two matrices. Overall, results indicate that men on average performed significantly better than women. However, the manner in which the status effects are manifested varied with status ranking types. In video conferencing settings, men performed significantly better than women when status ranking was implicit, while in in-person settings, men performed significantly better than women when status ranking was explicit.

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