Presenter Information

Yelyzaveta DiStefanoFollow

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Submission Type

Oral/Paper Presentation

Degree Type

PhD

Discipline

Social Sciences

Department

Psychology

Access Type

Open Access

Abstract or Description

While there are legal definitions of what actions and circumstances constitute gender based prejudiced, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, less is known about lay people’s norms and perceptions of what behaviors and situations qualify as each of these categories, especially involving the role of context in which ambiguous social-sexual behaviors occur. 277 participants read scenarios in which setting (workplace, office party at the bar), presence of others (alone, in a group of coworkers) extremity of harassing behavior (mild, blatant), and behavior type (9 different actions) were manipulated. Afterward, the politician was rated on degrees of guilt on a variety of types of misconduct and consequences ratings. Preliminary findings include significant effects of behavior extremity on all misconduct measures (higher misconduct ratings for more extreme behaviors), effects of setting for select behaviors on sexual misconduct and sexual harassment (workplace settings increased misconduct ratings), and some effects of presence of others on sexually inappropriate behavior ratings (being in a group increased perceptions of misconduct). Behaviors did not form a linear hierarchy of severity, with verbal behaviors being perceived as equally inappropriate/harassing as physical ones. There was much greater variation in measures of inappropriate behavior and misconduct. The results confirm that susceptibility to context occurs for more ambiguous behaviors, such as use of terms of endearment, touching on the shoulder, and making general dirty jokes, while more explicit behaviors such as sexual comments directed specifically at the target and groping are consistently rated higher on all misconduct measures, regardless of the situation they occur in.

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Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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Jun 6th, 2:15 PM Jun 6th, 3:45 PM

Layperson’s Norms Surrounding Politician Sexual Harassment and Misconduct

While there are legal definitions of what actions and circumstances constitute gender based prejudiced, sexual harassment, sexual assault, and rape, less is known about lay people’s norms and perceptions of what behaviors and situations qualify as each of these categories, especially involving the role of context in which ambiguous social-sexual behaviors occur. 277 participants read scenarios in which setting (workplace, office party at the bar), presence of others (alone, in a group of coworkers) extremity of harassing behavior (mild, blatant), and behavior type (9 different actions) were manipulated. Afterward, the politician was rated on degrees of guilt on a variety of types of misconduct and consequences ratings. Preliminary findings include significant effects of behavior extremity on all misconduct measures (higher misconduct ratings for more extreme behaviors), effects of setting for select behaviors on sexual misconduct and sexual harassment (workplace settings increased misconduct ratings), and some effects of presence of others on sexually inappropriate behavior ratings (being in a group increased perceptions of misconduct). Behaviors did not form a linear hierarchy of severity, with verbal behaviors being perceived as equally inappropriate/harassing as physical ones. There was much greater variation in measures of inappropriate behavior and misconduct. The results confirm that susceptibility to context occurs for more ambiguous behaviors, such as use of terms of endearment, touching on the shoulder, and making general dirty jokes, while more explicit behaviors such as sexual comments directed specifically at the target and groping are consistently rated higher on all misconduct measures, regardless of the situation they occur in.