Does This Bumper Sticker Make Me Look Reckless? Stereotypes About Driving Ability Based on Perceived Gender
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Driving has traditionally been viewed as a masculine activity, producing gender stereotypes in driving. Pravossoudovitch et al. (2015) found males were rated higher in driving skills, but females were rated higher in courtesy, risk avoidance, and law compliance. The present study attempted to analyze implicit stereotypes by examining participants’ perceptions of drivers based on gendered bumper stickers. Two hundred Amazon Mechanical Turk workers viewed a car with masculine, feminine, or neutral bumper stickers and rated the driver on law compliance, courtesy, risk avoidance, and driving skills. We hypothesized that participants would be more likely to perceive drivers with masculine bumper stickers as more reckless than drivers with feminine bumper stickers. We found significant differences between male and female drivers in risk avoidance, t(198) = -2.64, p = .009, with female drivers (M = 20.31, SD = 4.07) rated higher than males (M = 18.84, SD = 3.54). Significant interactions were found between the participants’ gender and the driver’s perceived gender in law compliance (p = .02), risk avoidance (p = .04), and courtesy (p = .05). Perceptions of drivers were also affected by participants’ reported number of traffic violations, suggesting gender stereotypes are not the only factor in risk perceptions.