A few years back, I – along with three other members of the class – conducted an experiment and had to write a paper about the results. Mind you, it ended up with me doing the vast majority of the research, writing the rough "group" draft of the final paper, and steering us away from the standard twelve question survey for scoring SDO and instead opting to adapt a much older survey (used in the very early stages of the theory) to suit our needs. I want to point out that I was not then, nor am I now, qualified to write my own surveys for psychological evaluations.
Anyway, this is another kind of placeholder. I do think it is a decent paper, and if anyone is interested in the survey without the mark-ups for scoring (and what isn't considered), I have a copy of that as well that I can share. Same with the simple regular survey, which takes about one minute to complete. But if you find any of this interesting, I would ask that you give the survey a chance.
Social dominance orientation: The role of gender on evaluation of social hierarchies and social inequality
Is there such a thing as equality within a society? There certainly exists the concept, though both institutions and personal value schemes of the individual members often place a hierarchal value on positions and groups of people in stable industrialized cultures (Sidanius & Pratto, 2003). Sidanius & Pratto (2003) state that these types of societies often evince group-based hierarchies where men tend to exercise more public political power than women. Why would such be the case? Sidanius and Pratto (2003) offered Social Dominance Theory (SDT) as a possible explanation for how societies would “create and re-create” social inequalities along arbitrary lines, including gender, racial, and religious differences (p. 207). Without exception, men have been found to be socialized to display a greater proclivity toward physical aggression and violence then do women (Sidanius, Pratto, & Bobo, 1994). It has been suggested that such behavior may be an anthropological remnant of early man’s behavior that allowed for the defense of territory, the conquest of territory, and for both maintaining existing social hierarchies and expanding them to allow for concepts such as caste systems and slavery (Sidanius, Pratto, & Bobo, 1994).
Social Dominance Orientation, the level of the individual’s relationship to SDT, can be described as being the opposite of egalitarianism (Sidanius, Pratto, & Bobo, 1994). SDO posits an unending competition for dominance between groups, with in-groups seeking dominance over outgroups (Sidanius, Pratto, & Bobo, 1994). One of the aspects of SDO is the legitimizing of myths, such as racism or nationalism (Sidanius, Pratto, & Bobo, 1994). In this regard, the level of SDO for an individual represents a rough measure of how likely one is accept preconceived notions and stereotypes, with a higher score being more likely to and a lower score as less likely.
SDO takes into account not only the underlying personality factors, but also the individual’s experiences and relative position with their society (Sidanius & Pratto, 2003). As such, SDO accounts for the lines of research that have suggested that prejudice is tied to the individual’s concept of self in relation to society and that is as the result of stable factors of the individual, such as personality and the identity of the self (Akrami & Ekehammer, 2006). SDO has been shown to have a negative correlational relationship with the with Big-Five factor of Agreeableness (r = -.46, p < .01) and Openness to Experience (r = -.35, p < .01) by Akrami and Ekehammer (2006). Ekehammer, Akrami, Gyjle, and Zakrisson (2004) found that SDO had the single largest effect on Generalized Prejudice. The same study, however, found that Right Wing Authoritarianism (RWA) had a stronger negative relationship with Conscientiousness and Openness to Experience, and that while SDO and RWA can combine for the highest level of Generalized Prejudice, both can independently contribute to prejudice (Ekehammer et al., 2004).
RWA has several similar features as SDO, such as hostility to out-groups (Ekehammer et al., 2004), but RWA is considered to be a primarily “intragroup phenomenon,” whereas SDO is “intergroup” (Ekehammer et al., 2004; Sidanius, Pratto, & Bobo, 1994). Altemeyer (1998) goes as far to call RWA and SDO “two sides of the same coin” (1998), but as RWA tends to rely upon and reinforce the prejudices of a group (their normative prejudices) and SDO presents the individual as separate from the out-groups, SDO may be a more meaningful measure for the individual’s personal relationship, with all component parts considered. Further, while RWA is rightfully associated with conventionalism (and an aggressiveness directed against members of out-groups where it is believed to be accepted by the established authorities), it is also associated with followers (Altemeyer, 1996). SDO, associated with leaders (Altemeyer, 1996), is likely to provide a better measure of one’s own owned beliefs in social hierarchy and prejudices. Indeed, Sidanius, Pratto, and Bobo (1994) showed that SDO is only marginally correlated with RWA.
Why have men scored higher on SDO than women (Guimond et al., 2006; Sidanius, Pratto, & Bobo, 1994)? It may be as simple as the differences in the self-concept between the genders. There is a stereo-type that women focus on interpersonal relationships, and view themselves as part of an interdependent group, whereas men view themselves as more self-determined and self-concerned, as being entities responsible for themselves (Guimond, et al., 2006). However, Guimond et al. (2006) found that this stereotype bears out only in as much as each in-group identifies with the stereotype. Indeed, it was found that women self-stereotype more than men (Guimond et al., 2006), though this does not appear to have a direct relationship with the stereotyping of others outside the in-group. This may appear to suggest that women would then score higher on SDO, except that there is no implied relationship between in-group stereo-typing and out-group stereotyping (Guimond et al., 2006, Kilianski, 2003; Sidanius, Pratto, & Mitchell, 1994). Kilianski (2003) posited that one is more likely to have a negative view of the characteristics which one would view as part of one’s “undesired self” (p. 38). Indeed, Kilianski (2003) expanded upon previous research to bolster the argument that because the “gender role norms” (p. 38) for boys (developmental masculinity) are more strictly enforced, the result may be gender identities that require a stronger defense mechanism than for girls.
This, combined with the fact that men have and continue to hold the majority of the positions of power (i.e., the vast majority of those elected to national political office are men, including every President of the United States of America) may account for men scoring higher on SDO than women. As reported by Sidanius, Pratto, and Bobo (1994), “those who are in position to enforce current group inequality or to increase in-group status or power position with respect to out-groups are more likely to have attitudinal, belief, and emotional orientation to oppress groups in general, or be more social dominance oriented” (p. 999). While Sidanius, Pratto, and Bobo (1994) noted that men may make other men the victims of their SDO just as easily as they would women (in-groups are exclusive to gender roles, ethnicity, religion, etc., but can be reduced to multiple combinations of factors to produce smaller, distinct in-groups), this does not serve as a deterrent for men adopting an SDO (though their position within the social hierarchy may affect their level of SDO). Stated most directly, men are more likely to support “ethnic prejudice, racism, capitalism, and rightwing parties” (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth, and Malle, 1994, p. 742) than are women. Each of the above concepts has an inherent value of inequality.
Given the weight of the research, it is clear that men (as a group) should score higher on SDO than women (as a group). The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between gender and SDO, looking specifically at the legitimization of myths. While there are more common SDO scales (such as the SDO6), these are somewhat limited in scope and fail to address the degree of groups and beliefs to which SDO may be applied.
For the purposes of this study, the men and women surveyed came from the Research Methods class (PSYC 285, section 10, Spring semester) from Roosevelt University (Chicago, IL). This resulted in 5 men [mean age = 28 (SD 6.34); 40% Caucasian/White, 40% African-American/Black, 20% Asian American], 16 women [Mean Age -- 25.44 (SD 5.54); 3.75% Caucasian, 37.5% African American, 6.25% Asian American, 12.5% Latina], and one unidentified participant [no information given]. All were students of the university, though information as to level of education or of degrees was not collected.
SDO can be measured against many diffuse groups, effectively for every possible group of which one could either be or not be a member (every in-group and out-group possibility). SDO was measured with a modified version of the legitimizing myths questionnaire (Pratto, Sidanius, Stallworth, and Malle, 1994, Appendix B). The questionnaire has been modified because two sections (regarding War with Iraq) refer to the 1992 conflict and not the 2003-present conflict as well as to allow for a uniformity of scoring.
Participants were given the questionnaire after reviewing and signing an informed consent form and assenting to take part in the study. Participants were given twenty minutes to complete the survey with instructions that they may omit or decline to answer any questions for any reason. All questions as to the meaning of the questions were answered uniformly, that the meaning was whatever the participant took it to be.
The questionnaire consists of 161 questions in 25 sections. Each section was scored separately and aggregate scores were composited from each section’s score. Sections were scored with an allowance of one non-answer; more than one non-answer were not scored. Scoring was on a scale from 1.00 (very low) to 7.00 (very high). To further address the expected SDO differences between men and women, specific sections were analyzed in addition to the overall score: Chauvinism, Gay Rights, and Women’s Rights. As suggested by the literature, these should evince pronounced differences between the genders in regards to SDO scores.
SDO cores were calculated from completed sections. Scoring allowed for one unanswered question per section; more than one unanswered question resulted in the section not being scored. Overall SDO scores were calculated from completed sections only. The selected sections of interest (Chauvinism, Gay Rights, and Women’s Rights) were completed by all participants. The calculated SDO scores for overall SDO and sections can be seen in Table 1.
Table 1 – SDO & Section Results
Overall SDO scores were found to vary. The score for men was 3.46 while for women it was 2.92. This gives evidence of a significant difference between the two groups, t(19)=2.349, p=.03. Overall SDO scores are shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 – SDO Scores
The sections produced similar results in that the men consistently scored higher than the women. For Chauvinism, men scored 3.88 while women scored 3.59, t(19)=.943, p=.358. This is the singular examined example of there not being a significant difference between the two groups. There was no significant difference on this scale. One of the possible reasons for this is the number of questions regarding immigration, which had been a hot political issue for some months prior to the administration of the questionnaire. Chauvinism scores are shown in Figure 2.
Figure 2 – Chauvinism Scores
For Gay Rights, men scored 4.40, much higher than the women, 2.03, t(19)=2.731, p=.01. This was expected to be the most obvious difference between the genders (in SDO scores) as proved to be. Indeed, where only 2 of the 5 (40%) men scored below 4.00 on Gay Rights, 12 of the 16 (75%) women scored a 2.00 or lower. It is likely that, as the literature suggests, heterosexual men are more likely to think of homosexuals (male and female) as distinct outgroups than are women. Gay Rights scores are shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3 – Gay Rights
For Women’s Rights, men scored 2.75 while women scored 1.52, t(19)=4.101, p=.001. While this is a significant difference, and not a small difference, it should be noted that Women’s Rights was one of the sections where men scored lower on the SDO scale. Women’s Rights scores are shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4 – Women’s Rights
In all examined instances, males scored higher on the SDO scale than did females. This is consistent with the literature.
SDO scores were generated on a scale from 1 (lowest) to 7 (highest); this is consistent with the scoring of both the SDO6 and the scale for measuring the legitimization of myths. SDO scores positively correlate with predicting generalized prejudice (Ekehammer, Akrami, Gyjle, & Zakrisson, 2004). Males scored higher in all examined SDO scales: Overall, Chauvinism, Gay Rights, and Women’s Rights. These results were significant in the Overall score, Gay Rights, and Women’s Rights, though to varying degrees (Women’s Rights being the strongest, followed by Gay Rights, and then Overall).
Due to the limited male sample and the disparity between male and female sample sizes, the results are suspect. This is especially true given the former condition, as the male group could not overcome a single extreme score on any scale and an individual could by himself skew the results. The sample size differential makes the results from the t-tests questionable. While the predicted outcome was found on the whole and in two of the three chosen sections, it would be best to repeat this study with a larger group with equal distribution by gender.
Also, the scale chosen is not a standard SDO scale (the SDO6 was eschewed for fear of generating nearly homegenous results) and was modified without supervision. A serious review to ensure that the questions and scoring are proper should be conducted before conducting this study again.
Morevoer, there are unequal standard deviations when comparing overall SDO and the Women’s Rights section. This violates one of the assumptions of the test being given. As such, the results given do not actually mean anything outside of the specific persons sampled. There is little confidence in the actual scores, and aside from the vast amount of existing support for men scoring higher on SDO than women, little reason to believe the validity of the findings of this study (again, -based upon the violations of the t-test assumptions).
This study did not take into account age or race/nationality, both of which have been shown to be predictive factors for SDO. In future studies, efforts should be made determine the level of impact these variables have across gender. Also, it came to the attention of the group that military service may affect several reports on the scale given, and efforts should be made to account for this.
It is entirely possible that what has been evinced in this study is that even in a setting with a stated purpose of social conscientiousness (Roosevelt University) that males will continue to view society as an entity in need of being ordered. In particular, male attitudes towards homosexuals and homosexuality may need be addressed (though this study found males scoring very close to Neutral) as it is clearly the most obviously rated out-group for the heterosexual men. However, the most pronounced difference in terms of significance was on Women’s Rights. While the males of the study scored very low (2.75), indicating a somewhat positive view of the issues, it is clear that there is a clearly delineated division were the males do not view these issues as effecting their in-group.
While the results of this study are not unexpected, they do not suggest a means to create more balanced SDO scores between genders, nor does it specify the implications of SDO levels for the groups. This limits the practical applications of this study for understanding difference in levels of SDO between genders other than confirming previous research results. Moreover, this study did not address the possible benefits, if any, of having a higher level of SDO in an industrialized society. Perhaps it is this very tendency to identify so strongly in regards to in-groups that has allowed for the continued under-representation of women and minorities at higher levels of management in organizations as well as in higher level political office. It is quite telling that while women are more likely to vote outside of their in-group – perhaps necessitated by default when gender is considered – so a better understanding of SDO differences may help better shape an understanding of voting patterns. It is also likely that a better understanding of SDO levels of male management may lead to better strategies for those seeking promotions as to the importance of establishing oneself as a member of the ingroup, as it will likely effect how one’s competency is evaluated.
The Legitimizing Myths Questionnaire used in the study.
Please rate the following as one of the following:
Very Positive (1), Positive (2), Somewhat Positive (3), Neutral (4), Somewhat Negative (5), Negative (6), or Very Negative (7)
Anti-Black Racism Scale
A Black president.
Blacks are inherently inferior.✝
Civil Rights activists.
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)✝
English as the official language.
Decreased immigration to the U.S.
American way of life.✝
No welfare for new immigrants.✝
America as world’s policeman.✝
In view of American’s moral and material superiority, it is only right that we should have the biggest say in deciding the United Nations policy. ✝
This country must continue to lead the “Free World.”✦
We should do anything necessary to increase the power of our country, even if it means war. ✝
Sometimes it is necessary for our country to make war on other countries for their own good. ✝
The important thing for the U.S. foreign aid program is to see to it that the U.S. gains a political advantage.✝
Generally, the more influence America has on other nations, the better off they are.✝
Please rate the following as one of the following:
Strongly Disagree (1), Disagree (2), Somewhat Disagree (3), Neutral (4), Somewhat Agree (5), Agree (6), or Strongly Agree (7)
Anti-Arab Racism Scale
Most of terrorists in the world are Arabs.
Historically, Arabs have made important contributions to world culture.✝
Iraqis have little appreciation for democratic values.
People of the Muslim religion tend to be fanatical.
Muslims value peace and love.✝
Cultural Elitism Scale
The poor cannot appreciate fine art and music.
No amount of education can make up for the wrong breeding.
Qualifications and not personality should determine whether a candidate gets votes. The ideal world is run by those who are most capable.
Western civilization has brought more progress than all other cultural traditions.
Someone who treats other people poorly but is very good at his job should be promoted.
Great art is not meant for common folk.
Equal Opportunity Scale.
In America, every person has an equal chance to rise up and prosper.
Lower wages for women and ethnic minorities simply reflect lower skill and education levels.
America is the “land of opportunity.”
Salaries are usually reflective of education, which in turn is reflective of intelligence and ambition.
Affirmative Action prevents the more-qualified from attaining positions.
Potential to do well should not be sufficient for admission to any program.
Only those with proven competence in that field should be allowed.✦
Flag burning should be illegal.
In American public schools, every day should begin with the Pledge of Allegiance.
I support the United States’ actions in Iraq.
Patriotism is the most important qualification for a politician.
I believe in mandatory military service by all citizens of the United States in the armed forces.
It is disloyal for people to question the President during the Iraq War.
With few exceptions, the American government does a good and honest job.
Other countries should be happy to have American intervention and influence.
I am proud to be an American.
Congressman who voted against the war should be removed from office.
The United States suffers when patriotism wanes.
Patriots are the ones who have made this country great.
Noblesse Oblige Scale-Form A
As a country’s wealth increases, more of its resources should be channeled to the poor.✝
The more money one makes, the greater proportion of that money should be paid in taxes.✝
Those with more resources have more obligations toward their fellow human beings.✝
Giving to others usually benefits the givers as well.✝
The man with two coats in his closet should give one away.✝
Extra food on the table belongs to those who are hungry.✝
Items on the Policy Scales
Law and Order Policies
Death penalty for drug kingpins.
Longer prison sentences.
Gay or lesbian marriage.✝
Gay and lesbian rights.✝
Guaranteed job security after maternity leave.✝
Stiffer penalties for wife beating.✝
Equal pay for women.✝
More women judges.✝
Government sponsored health care.✝
Better support for the homeless.✝
More support for early education.✝
Free lunch programs.✝
Low income housing.✝
Arresting the homeless.
Guaranteed jobs for all.✝
Reduced benefits for the unemployed.
Greater aid to poor kids.✝
Increased taxation of the rich.✝
Helping minorities get a better education.✝
Government helping minorities get better housing.✝
Government has no business helping any particular ethnic group in the job market.✝
Decreased defense spending.✝
Strategic Defense Initiative.
B-2 (Stealth) bomber.
Going to war.
Drilling for oil off the California coast. ✝
Government-mandated recycling programs.
Taxing environmental polluters to pay for superfund clean ups.
More government involvement on clean air and water.
Drilling for oil under the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR).
Favors Military Action by U.S.
The U.S. really had no choice but to use military force against Iraq.
The U.S. should not be using military force in Iraq.✝
The U.S. military should not participate in any military action that will kill civilians, no matter how few.✝
Willing to make Sacrifices for War
It would be worth our country having a lower standard of living to maintain world peace.✝
I would be willing to pay double the current prices of gasoline to avoid similar conflicts over oil in the future.✝
I am willing to risk my life to help with the war effort in Iraq.✦
I’d be willing to pay higher taxes to finance the war in Iraq.✦
Favors suspending Liberties for War
President Bush should be given whatever power he needs to conduct war.
Sometimes political leaders must be unencumbered by legislatures so they can govern effectively.
It is appropriate to reinstitute the military draft to help with the conflict with Iraq.
Military censorship of the press is appropriate in times of war.
Concerned About Environment in War
Iraq should be held entirely accountable for environmental clean-ups needed as a result of the war.
The U.S. is partly to blame for the environmental damage to the Persian Gulf region.✝
Potential environmental damage should have been considered in the decision to go to war.✝
Post-War Pro-Iraq War Items
The U.S. has no choice but to invade Iraq on 19 March, 2003.
The U.S. should have tried political and economic pressure for a longer time before invading Iraq.✝
Bombing the cities of Iraq was justified.
The President went to war to increase his popularity. ✝
The U.S. could have prevented more civilian casualties in Iraq.✝
The Iraq War is not worth the human cost.✝
We should spend as much money and effort on solving domestic problems as we do on the Iraq war.✝
Strict coverage of the press coverage of the Iraq war is necessary.✦
If we understood the Iraqis better, we might have been able to avoid the war.✝
In all, the press reports we receive about the war are fair and impartial.
The Iraq War is not worth the environmental cost. ✝
Wars of Dominance
To insure our influence is felt in that nation.
To protect our economic interests.
To protect our citizens being held hostage.
For U.S. national security purposes.
To restore a freely elected government which had been overthrown by a military coup.
To keep an enemy from acquiring chemical or nuclear weapons.
If we started disarming, it would only lead to more war.
A U.S. Military presence helps maintain peace.
To ensue that human rights were respected in that country.✝
To ensure that emergency food supplies could reach civilians.✝
To protect unarmed civilians from battles.✝
Ultimatums usually lead to war, rather than diplomatic solutions.✝
By selling arms to other countries, we increase the likelihood of war.✝
War should always be considered a last resort.✝
Believes in Specific Deterrence
If not executed, murders will commit more crimes in the future.
We don’t need the death penalty to insure that a murderer never repeats his/her crime.✝
If not executed, a murderer will be on the street in a few years.
Support for Painful Executions
Murderers should suffer when they are executed.
I might support the use of burning alive to execute those who commit the most heinous crimes.
If people have to be executed, they should be executed in the most painless way possible.✝
The electric chair should be quick and painless.✝
Executions should be as bloodless as possible. ✝
The crime problem has gotten so bad that maybe we should bring back public hangings.
We should use more graphic forms of executions (such as a firing squad).
When using the electric chair for executions, the voltage should be applied slowly so the criminal suffers before dying.
Belief in Retribution
Society does not have the right to get revenge for murder.
For a terrible crime, there should be a terrible punishment.
Even the worst criminal should be considered for mercy.
Those who hurt others deserve to be hurt in return.✝
Punishment should fit the crime.
✝ – reversed score
✦ – omit answer from scoring
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Altemeyer, B. (1998). The ‘other authoritarian personality.’ Advances in Experimental Psychology, 30, 47-92
de St. Aubin, E. (1996). Personal ideology polarity: Its emotional foundation and its manisfestation in individual value systems, religiosity, political orientation, and assumptions concerning human nature. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 71, 152-165
Ekehammer, B., Akrami, N., Gylje, M., & Zakrisson, I. (2004). What matters most to prejudice: Big five personality, social dominance orientation, or right wing authoratarianism? European Journal of Personality, 18, 462-482
Guimond, S., Martinot, D., Chatard, A., Crisp, R., & Redersdorff, S. (2006). Social comparison, self-stereo-typing, and gender differences in self-contruals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90, 221-242
Henry, P., Sidanius, J., Levin, S., & Pratto, F. (2005). Social dominance orientation, authoritarianism, and support for intergroup violence between the Middle East and America. Political Psychology, 26, 569-583
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