Assuming preferential selection when the admissions policy is unknown: The effects of gender rarity

Madeline E. Heilman, Steven L. Blader

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One hundred thirty-five undergraduates indicated the degree to which they believed gender played a role in the selection of an applicant for a graduate degree program. Both the gender composition of the cohort and the selection policy (explicitly merit-based, explicitly affirmative action, or ambiguous) were varied. Results indicated that preferential selection on the basis of gender was assumed when women were solos and explicit information about the selection policy was not provided and that these assumptions were as strong as when an affirmative action policy was explicitly stated. This did not occur when the female selectee was not a solo or when a male selectee was a solo. Evaluations of qualifications and prediction of success paralleled the preferential selection assumptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)188-193
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Applied Psychology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology

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