Wilkie 2015 Front Psychol

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Wilkie James EB, Bodenhausen Galen V (2015) The numerology of gender: gendered perceptions of even and odd numbers. Front Psychol 6:810.

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Wilkie James EB, Bodenhausen Galen V (2015) Front Psychol

Abstract: Do numbers have gender? Wilkie and Bodenhausen (2012) examined this issue in a series of experiments on perceived gender. They examined the perceived gender of baby faces and foreign names. Arbitrary numbers presented with these faces and names influenced their perceived gender. Specifically, odd numbers connoted masculinity, while even numbers connoted femininity. In two new studies (total N = 315), we further examined the gendering of numbers. The first study examined explicit ratings of 1-digit numbers. We confirmed that odd numbers seemed masculine while even numbers seemed feminine. Although both men and women showed this pattern, it was more pronounced among women. We also examined whether this pattern holds for automatic as well as deliberated reactions. Results of an Implicit Association Test showed that it did, but only among the women. The implicit and explicit patterns of numerical gender ascription were moderately correlated. The second study examined explicit perceptions of 2-digit numbers. Again, women viewed odd numbers as more masculine and less feminine than even numbers. However, men viewed 2-digit numbers as relatively masculine, regardless of whether they were even or odd. These results indicate that women and men impute gender to numbers in different ways and to different extents. We discuss possible implications for understanding how people relate to and are influenced by numbers in a variety of real-life contexts.

Keywords: Numbers, Gender, Implicit associations, Sex differences, Social stereotypes Bioblast editor: Gnaiger E

Selected quotes

  • Developmental research indicates that parity becomes an integral part of number representation from about the 4th grade onward (Berch et al., 1999).
  • People tend to process even numbers more rapidly and fluently than odd ones (e.g., Hines, 1990), and much research has documented that processing fluency elicits positive affect toward salient stimuli (see Winkielman et al.,2003). .. Eagly and Mladinic (1994) noted that femininity stereotypes (e.g., warm, nurturing, emotionally sensitive) imply likableness much more than masculinity stereotypes (e.g., strong, independent, competitive), a phenomenon Eagly and Mladinic dubbed the “women-are-wonderful” effect. Thus, even numbers may seem more likable than odd numbers by virtue of their greater perceived femininity.
  • Numbers can evoke diverse feelings and associations.
  • Even something as basic and abstract as number parity can carry connotations of gender. .. Even our numbers are gendered.


International System of Units, Number