Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Two hundred students from lower division Psychology and Sociology classes each participated in evaluating a male and a female character in one of two short scenes used in this experiment. A pilot study determined that one scene depicted a male behaving in a sexually aggressive manner toward a passive female while the other depicted a female behaving in a sexually aggressive manner toward a passive male. After rending the short scene, subjects rated each character on a 26-word pair semantic differential containing the dimensions of Evaluation, Potency, and Activity. Subjects were also asked how they perceived themselves in comparison to their peers in terms of sexual liberation. It was hypothesized that in general the rating would reflect a tendency toward sex-role stereotyping with the traditional roles of the sexually aggressive male and the sexually passive female being viewed more favorably in comparison to the alternate roles of a sexually aggressive female and a sexually passive male . It was also predicted that those individuals who view themselves as just as sexually liberated or more so than their peers would exhibit less of a tendency to stereotype sex roles when compared to those who view themselves as less sexually liberated than their peers. Sex of the respondent was also considered in the analysis. The data were analyzed using the two-tailed t-test. For the most part the results were not supportive of the hypothesis. There did not appear to be a tendency for sex- role stereotyping but differences suggestive at stereotyping appeared in comparison of the aggressive versus passive roles regardless of the sex of the story character. No differences in the evaluations were observed in comparisons between the liberated and "non-liberated" groups. No sex differences were observed in the evaluations of either passive character. For the aggressive character the sexes disagreed on one-fifth of their responses. Results of the experiment were discussed in terms of recent literature findings.


Phyllis G. Tiffany

Date of Award

Fall 1978

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1978 Paul R. Horvath


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