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ERIC Number: EJ941230
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 16
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 29
ISSN: ISSN-0090-6905
How Readers Spontaneously Interpret "Man"-Suffix Words: Evidence from Eye Movements
Khan, Manizeh; Daneman, Meredyth
Journal of Psycholinguistic Research, v40 n5-6 p351-366 Dec 2011
This study investigated whether readers are more likely to assign a male referent to man-suffix terms (e.g. "chairman") than to gender-neutral alternatives (e.g., "chairperson") during reading, and whether this bias differs as a function of age. Younger and older adults' eye movements were monitored while reading passages containing phrases such as "The chairman/chairperson familiarized herself with..." On-line eye fixation data provided strong evidence that "man"-suffix words were more likely to evoke the expectation of a male referent in both age groups. Younger readers demonstrated inflated processing times when first encountering "herself" after "chairman" relative to "chairperson," and they tended to make more regressive fixations to "chairman." Older readers did not show the effect when initially encountering "herself," but they spent disproportionately longer looking back to "chairman" and "herself." The study provides empirical support for copy-editing policies that mandate the use of explicitly gender-neutral suffix terms in place of "man"-suffix terms.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A