Economic inequality is a main issue in current societies, and it affects people’s psychological processes. In this research, we propose that perceived economic inequality might affect how people perceive men and women. In two experiments carried out in Spain (N = 170) and Mexico (N = 215), we tested whether high (vs. low) economic inequality leads to changes in the perceived agency and communion of both men and women. Our findings suggest that when economic inequality is high (vs. low), the communal content in social perceptions of both men and women decreases. Specifically, under high (vs. low) inequality, the difference in agency and communion ascribed to a man becomes greater (i.e., men are perceived as even more agentic than communal), whereas this difference becomes smaller for women (i.e., women are still perceived as more communal than agentic, but this difference is smaller). We discuss these findings’ implications regarding the psychosocial effects of economic inequality.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness for the projects Ref. PID2019–105643–GBI00 and Ref. PID2020-114464RB-I00 (MINECO/AEI/FEDER/UE), awarded to the second author and last author, respectively. This work was also supported by the Regional Government of Andalusia (projects: Ref. A-SEJ-72-UGR20 and Ref. P20_00199). It was also supported by a grant (FPU15/06126) from the FPU Program of the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sport awarded to the first author.
© The Author(s) 2022.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Cultural Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Sociology and Political Science