Automaticity of Gender Categorization: A Test of the Efficiency Feature
The extent to which a psychological process is automatic can be diagnosed by the presence of automaticity features (e.g., efficiency). Previous research suggests that gender categorization possesses some automaticity features (e.g., unintentionality), but lacks other features (e.g., goal independence). Importantly, the efficiency feature of gender categorization (i.e., whether it operates along with another resource-consuming task) has not been directly tested. This research used the locus-of-slack logic to examine the efficiency of gender categorization. Participants (N = 59) performed a dual task (tone discrimination and gender categorization) in two experiments where we manipulated the task intervals and the difficulty of gender categorization. Results showed that the difficulty effect remained relatively consistent across the varying task intervals, with a slight reduction at short intervals. According to the locus-of-slack logic, this suggests that gender categorization is partially efficient. These results are discussed in the context of automaticity of socially important facial-information processing.
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)