Lizzie Baily Wolf is a doctoral candidate in the Organizational Behavior Unit at the Harvard Business School. Coming from a social psychology background, Lizzie investigates issues around emotion, gender, nonverbal behavior, and interpersonal feedback at work. Lizzie's current projects focus on how people can manage impressions of their distress at work by reframing their emotion as passion, how men are stereotyped as "cultural ideals" across cultures, and how people look differently at individuals who engage in nonverbal displays of dominance vs. submissiveness. In her dissertation, she is exploring how evaluators' emotional expressions can convey performance feedback in evaluative contexts, and how this interpersonal feedback can influence the decisions and behavior of those whom they evaluate. Lizzie received her BA summa cum laude with honors from Connecticut College, where she double majored in Psychology and Hispanic Studies and received her CISLA certificate in International Studies.
Men as Cultural Ideals: Cultural Values Moderate Gender Stereotype Content.
Four studies tested whether cultural values moderate the content of gender stereotypes, such that male stereotypes more closely align with core cultural values (specifically, individualism vs. collectivism) than do female stereotypes. In Studies 1 and 2, using different measures, Americans rated men as less collectivistic than women, whereas Koreans rated men as more collectivistic than women. In Study 3, bicultural Korean Americans who completed a survey in English about American targets rated men as
less collectivistic than women, whereas those who completed the survey in Korean about Korean targets did not, demonstrating how cultural frames influence gender stereotype content. Study 4 established generalizability by reanalyzing Williams and Best's (1990) cross-national gender stereotype data across 26 nations. National individualism– collectivism scores predicted viewing collectivistic traits as more—and individualistic traits as less—stereotypically masculine. Taken together, these data offer support for
the cultural moderation of gender stereotypes hypothesis, qualifying past conclusions about the universality of gender stereotype content.
Keywords: gender stereotypes;
Prejudice and Bias;
Values and Beliefs;
Men as Cultural Ideals: How Culture Shapes Gender Stereotypes
Four studies test whether cultural values moderate the content of gender stereotypes, such that male stereotypes more closely align with core cultural values (specifically, individualism vs. collectivism) than do female stereotypes. In Studies 1 and 2, using different measures, Americans rated men as less collectivistic than women, whereas Koreans rated men as more collectivistic than women. In Study 3, bi-cultural Korean Americans who completed a survey in English about American targets rated men as less collectivistic than women, whereas those who completed the survey in Korean about Korean targets did not, demonstrating how cultural frames influence gender stereotype content. Study 4 tested generalizability by reanalyzing Williams and Best's (1990) cross-national gender stereotype data across 26 nations. National-level collectivism strongly correlated with viewing collectivistic traits as more, and individualistic traits as less, stereotypically masculine. Together, the four studies show strong support for the cultural moderation hypothesis, qualifying past conclusions about the universality of the content of gender stereotypes.
Cuddy, Amy, Elizabeth Baily Wolf, Peter Glick, and Michael I. Norton. "Men as Cultural Ideals: How Culture Shapes Gender Stereotypes." Paper presented at the 15th
Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Meeting, Austin, TX, February 15, 2014. View Details
I'm Just Passionate!: Attributing Emotional Displays to Passion versus Emotionality
People often express emotions at work that violate workplace display rules. In particular, expressing self-focused sadness is often viewed as inappropriate. Across three experimental studies, we find that the attributions that people make for their inappropriate emotional displays influence interpersonal perception and hiring decisions, and may shape the display rules themselves. In Study 1, we find that when a target attributed an incident of crying at work to passion, as compared to attributing it to emotionality or not making an attribution at all, it increased participants' perceptions of his or her work performance, competence, status, and dedication. In Study 2, we find that, when asked to recall a time when a co-worker cried or appeared upset at work, reflecting about how the emotional display demonstrates the co-worker's passionate nature (versus emotional nature) caused participants to rate the co-worker as a better performer, higher status, more competent, and more dedicated. In Study 3, we find that participants were more likely to hire a job candidate who, in the job interview, attributed a past incident of "getting choked up" to their passion than to their emotionality, and perceived the candidate as more competent and higher status. In addition to improving interpersonal perceptions, Studies 2 and 3 demonstrated that passion attributions also shifted people's implicit beliefs about emotional expression in the workplace broadly: workplace emotional expressions are considered more appropriate when emotional expressions were linked to passion than when they were linked to emotionality.
Wolf, Elizabeth Baily, and Alison Wood Brooks. "I'm Just Passionate! Attributing Emotional Displays to Passion versus Emotionality." International Association for Conflict Management Annual Conference, Leiden, The Netherlands, July 4–7, 2014. View Details
Visual Attention to Power Posers: People Avert their Gaze from Nonverbal Displays of Power
Existing literature suggests that people visually attend more to powerful/high-status people. However, previous studies manipulated target power/status via the target’s role (e.g., CEO or judge vs. mechanic or fry cook) or clothing (e.g., business suit vs. sweat suit). We hypothesized that power posing—adopting open, expansive postures, such as standing with feet apart and hand on hips—would actually elicit the opposite response: people will avert their gaze from high-power (vs. low-power)
posers, deferring to their perceived authority and avoiding confrontation, a finding that would be consistent with the literature on non-human animal hierarchies. In a 2 (target power pose: high, low) X 2 (target gender: male, female) between-subjects
design, participants (N = 81) were randomly assigned to view a series of photographs of either a White man or a White woman in a series of high or low power poses. Poses varied on the two nonverbal dimensions directly linked with power: expansiveness
(i.e., the amount of space taken up) and openness (i.e., limbs open or closed). Each participant’s gaze behavior was recorded using an eyetracker, with a sampling rate of 60 Hz and a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024 pixels. As expected, participants
looking at high-power posing targets averted their gaze from these targets (to the background of the photo) compared to participants looking at low-power posing targets. Moreover, this relationship was mediated via perceived power. The findings suggest that the way in which power is communicated—role vs. nonverbal display—can shape the course of an interaction, influencing the extent to which people do or do not visually attend to one another.
Keywords: Nonverbal Communication;
Rank and Position;
Power and Influence;
Wolf, Elizabeth Baily. "Visual Attention to Power Posers: People Avert their Gaze from Nonverbal Displays of Power." Paper presented at the 9th Biennial Conference of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, Charlotte, NC, United States, June 21–24, 2012. View Details
Prejudice and Bias;
Awards & Honors
Winner of the 2010 Honorary Undergraduate Scholar Award.