CD Watkins, M Quist, FG Smith, LM DeBruine & BC Jones (2012). Individual differences in women’s perceptions of other women’s dominance. European Journal of Personality, 26(1): 79-86. doi: 10.1002/per.837

Recent research on men’s dominance perception suggests that the extent to which men perceive masculine men to be more dominant than relatively feminine men is negatively correlated with measures of their own dominance. In the current studies, we investigated the relationship between indices of women’s own dominance and their perceptions of other women’s facial dominance. Women’s own height and scores on a dominance questionnaire were negatively correlated with the extent to which they perceived masculine women to be more dominant than relatively feminine women. In follow-up studies, we observed similar individual differences when (1) women separately judged other women’s social and physical dominance, suggesting individual differences in women’s dominance perceptions generalize across two different types of dominance judgment, and (2) we assessed the perceivers’ dominance indirectly using a questionnaire that measures the extent to which women view interactions with other women in competitive terms. These findings present new evidence that the extent to which people perceive masculine individuals to be more dominant than relatively feminine individuals is negatively correlated with measures of their own dominance and suggest that competition and conflict among women may have shaped individual differences in women’s dominance perception.

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