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The present study investigated the way in which the bodily posture, viz, the sitting position, of men and women contributes to gender stereotypical impressions. We expected that men would more often adopt a “wide” sitting position (legs apart and arms away from the trunk), while women would more often adopt a “closed” sitting position (upper legs against each other and arms against the trunk) and that these sitting positions would generally be seen as masculine or feminine. In the first study the sitting positions of men and women traveling on the Amsterdam Metro (underground railway) were observed. The results showed that men more often sat in a wide position, while women more often displayed a closed sitting position. In the second study, photos of men and women sitting in a wide or a closed position were judged. The results showed that a wide sitting position was considered more masculine and a closed position more feminine. We expected also that (in)consistency between gender and sitting position would have an impact on the impression gained of the stimulus person. The results lend support to this expectation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2000

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