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Heroism and Gender Roles: Influence of Publicity, Risk, and Familiarity On Heroism Shelby Flegel, Lauren Bach, Katie Westermayer & Dr. Emily Stark, Faculty.

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Presentation on theme: "Heroism and Gender Roles: Influence of Publicity, Risk, and Familiarity On Heroism Shelby Flegel, Lauren Bach, Katie Westermayer & Dr. Emily Stark, Faculty."— Presentation transcript:

1 Heroism and Gender Roles: Influence of Publicity, Risk, and Familiarity On Heroism Shelby Flegel, Lauren Bach, Katie Westermayer & Dr. Emily Stark, Faculty Mentor Department of Psychology, Minnesota State University, Mankato Introduction Heroism, any act of bravery or fearlessness, in order to help another person, has been prevalent in many societies across history and dramatized in media sources. Past research has investigated heroism and the perceived characteristics of people who engage in heroic acts. One of these influential characteristics is gender. Research has shown that many people perceive males to be more capable of heroism than females (Lyons, 2005). Lyons (2005) also found that males were more likely to help strangers and other males compared to friends and family. Gender differences are important to understand because of different stigmas that may influence the actions of each gender. Current Study: In the current study the participants read scenarios presenting different helping situations and rated how likely they were to help a family member, friend, significant other, and stranger in order to better understand heroism perceptions. Hypotheses: H1: Males will be more likely to exhibit heroism across all three situations compared to females. H2: Males will be more likely to exhibit heroism during high risk situations than females. Females will be more likely to engage in heroism in low risk situations. H3: People are more willing to help significant others versus strangers. Discussion H1, H2, and H3 were all supported by our findings. Males overall were more willing to help regardless of the situation or relationship with the victim. Our results provide support for past research that was used to create our hypotheses and variables we wanted to examine. Overall males were more likely to help which supports research from Lyons (2005) that males were viewed as heroes more often than females. In a study by Becker & Eagly (2004) they found that males received the Carnegie Hero Medal overwhelmingly more often then females. They examined five groups of reward recipients and gauged each for degree of risk and the Carnegie Hero Medal was associated with the highest risk. Our results go against some past research. In the study conducted by Lyons (2005) males were found to be more likely to rescue strangers and other males compared to people they knew. In our study, overall, participants were more likely to rescue significant others versus strangers. Future research should look more closely at how sexual orientation influences heroism and the publicity of the heroic act. Results - H1: A repeated measures ANOVA found that males were more likely to exhibit heroism across all three situations compared to females, F (1, 386) = 11.52, p < H2: A repeated measures ANOVA found an interaction between gender and risk, such that women were more likely to help in a low-risk situation compared to high-risk, and men were more likely to help in a high-risk situation compared to low-risk, F (1, 387 = 4.80, p < H3: A repeated measures ANOVA found that people were less likely to help when a person was a stranger of the opposite sex. People were more willing to help if it was their significant other, F (1, 389) = 438.0, p < The responses to the open-ended questions also show a gender bias. Method Participants 394 subjects participated in the study 21% male, 79% female The subjects ranged from ages 18 to 45 (M= 20.77, SD= 3.21). 84% Caucasian, 3.3% Hispanic, 5.3% African American, 4.1% Asian/Pacific, and 3.3% other. 92% Heterosexual 54.7% stated that they were in a relationship, 45% stated that they were not in a relationship, and 3%preferred not to answer Materials & Procedure Participants completed an online survey via Qualtrics. The survey contained three parts. Part one included questions regarding demographics. Part two consisted of three scenarios that were then ranked on a 5-point Likert scale regarding the danger of the situation and willingness to help. Part three consisted of two open-ended questions. References Becker, S. W., & Eagly, A. J. (2004). The heroism of women and men. American Psychologist, 59 (3), doi: / X Lyons, M. T. (2005). Who are the heroes? Characteristics of people who rescue others. Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology, 3 (3/4), doi: /JCEP Acknowledgements We would like to thank the Undergraduate Research Center, the Department of Psychology, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, the President’s Commission on the Status of Women at Minnesota State University, Psi Chi, and Mankato, and Minnesota State University, Mankato for their support.


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