As part of a guest lecture/workshop I gave today on the power of words, I did an experiment. (If I remember correctly, I read about this experiment in Delusions of Gender that I have often talked about on this blog.)
There were 18 students. I sent nine students out in the hall where they could not see what we are doing. I asked the students to take out a sheet of paper and to be prepared to write down as many words as they could that described the personalities of the babies of the screen. They saw the following cluster of images on the large screen:
When they were finished, I collected their papers, asked them to remain silent, and then I brought the other group in. They received the same directions, but saw the following cluster of images:
The hypothesis is that students will unconsciously describe the babies in blue with more positive and/or more stereotypically masculine words and the babies in pink with more negative and/or stereotypically feminine words. When putting this together, I couldn’t find images that were exactly identically. I’ll keep looking. But given this one limitation of the study, the results pretty much match the hypothesis.
Directly below is the WordCloud for the group that saw the babies in blue. This group had nine people. They collectively wrote 42 words, 29 of these being unique. Very few negative words appeared.
Directly below is the WordCloud for the group that saw the babies in pink. This group had nine people. They collectively wrote 38 words, 23 of these being unique. There were still a number of words related to happiness, but far less related to themes of thinking.
What do you think?!
Dr. Andrew Joseph Pegoda