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Article

When Sexism is Not a Problem: The Role of Perceived Intelligence in Willingness to Interact with Someone Who is Sexist

Two studies examined factors that would influence people’s preferences for interaction with a perpetrator of sexism. In Study 1 (n = 348), participants preferred to interact (being friends or developing a relationship) with an intelligent person regardless of whether or not that person was sexist. Study 2 (n = 614) replicated this finding and confirmed that where a perpetrator had a high level of intelligence, people were more willing to interact with them, regardless of the perpetrator’s sex and the perceived commission or non-commission of sexist behavior. Moreover, Study 2 provides evidence that participants’ hostile sexism beliefs are a significant covariate of a willingness to interact with unintelligent women. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for the understanding of person perception.