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    People are often reluctant to speak out publicly as allies to marginalized groups. We conducted three preregistered studies examining whether pluralistic ignorance (Miller & McFarland, 1991; Prentice, 2007; Prentice & Miller, 1993) inhibits allyship. We first hypothesized that, if men rarely enact allyship toward women (e.g., in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM] fields), people will underestimate men's beliefs that sexism is problematic. Second, these misperceptions might then predict men's (and women's) own inaction, despite their private beliefs about gender bias. Additionally, men with higher masculinity concerns might be particularly inhibited from enacting allyship by their belief that other men are unconcerned with gender bias. All three studies yielded evidence that men and women underestimate men's privately expressed concerns about gender bias in STEM contexts. In correlational analyses, Studies 1 and 2 also revealed that among men high in precarious masculinity concerns, the belief that other men do not see bias as a problem predicted lower allyship intentions, controlling for their own beliefs about gender bias. Although experimentally correcting these beliefs with data changed perceptions (Studies 2 and 3), this was insufficient to increase allyship. Rather, in an ecologically valid behavioral paradigm (Study 3), allyship behavior was elevated when participants observed others confronting versus not confronting sexism. These findings suggest that perceptions of men's average beliefs inhibit allyship intentions; however, merely correcting these misperceptions might not be enough to motivate actual confrontation. We discuss the implications of these findings for a pluralistic ignorance account of allyship inhibition and for practical interventions aimed at promoting allyship. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).


    Lucy De Souza, Toni Schmader. The misjudgment of men: Does pluralistic ignorance inhibit allyship? Journal of personality and social psychology. 2022 Feb;122(2):265-285

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    PMID: 33871267

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