Confirmation bias and the sexual double standard

Michael J. Marks, R. Chris Fraley

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In contemporary Western societies it is widely believed that there is a sexual double standard such that men are rewarded for sexual activity, whereas women are derogated for sexual activity. This pervasive belief may result in a confirmation bias such that people tend to notice information that confirms the double standard and fail to notice information that refutes it. Two studies were conducted to test this hypothesis. In both studies, participants read vignettes about a target man or a woman that contained an equal number of positive and negative comments regarding the target's sexuality. Participants recalled more information consistent with the double standard than inconsistent with it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)19-26
Number of pages8
JournalSex Roles
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 2006


  • Confirmation bias
  • Double standard
  • Gender norms
  • Promiscuity
  • Sex differences
  • Sex partners
  • Sexual activity
  • Sexuality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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