The femininity of abstraction

Current project leader: Carmen Cervone

Description: Grammatical gender generally implies disadvantages for women (e.g., the use of generic masculine leading to real-life invisibility of women). Diverging from this idea, we here argue that abstract concepts (such as justice or democracy), arguably reflecting the most sophisticated expression of human thought, are associated with feminine gender. Together, our studies show an association between abstraction and grammatical gender, which carries psychological meaning through the gender congruency effect and the super-humanization of abstract nouns. Put together, these cognitive processes might aid (or hinder) women in real-life situations.


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