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The Gender-Equality Paradox

Societies with more political and economic gender equality frequently exhibit larger, not smaller, gender differences, a set of findings referred to as the gender-equality paradox (GEP). What can explain these paradoxical findings?

Support for gender equality has been increasing across the globe, yet the rate at which gender equally is achieved may vary substantially across countries. I proposed and tested a Generational Shift Account of the GEP based on data on chess participation (Vishkin, 2022), according to which cultural shifts in gender equality are more likely to occur in younger generations than in older generations. An insightful commentary replicated the main finding but challenged its proposed mechanism (Napp & Breda, 2023). I engage their arguments in a reply (Vishkin, 2023).

The generational shift account can explain instances of the GEP where the representation of women in fields dominated by men increases over time across the board. However, the GEP has also been demonstrated in instances where the representation of women in fields dominated by men decreases over time. What mechanism can explain this? My colleagues and I find historical and cross-sectional evidence that greater gender equality predicts stronger preferences for gender differentiation (Vishkin, Slepian, & Galinsky, 2022). A commentary on this article challenged its findings (Berggren, 2023). In a reply, I concede that the historical findings are weaker than originally claimed but maintain that the cross-sectional findings are robust (Vishkin, 2024).


Vishkin, A. (2024). Taking stock of the evidence for the gender-equality paradox in gendered names: A reply to Berggren (2023) with new data. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 15(2), 245-249[PDF]

Vishkin, A. (2023). The gender-equality paradox in chess participation is partially explained by the generational-shift account but fully inconsistent with existing alternative accounts: A partial concession and reply to Napp and Breda (2023). Psychological Science, 34, 1411-1415. [PDF]

Vishkin, A. (2022). Queen’s gambit declined: The gender-equality paradox in chess participation across 160 countries. Psychological Science, 33(2), 276-284. [PDF]

Vishkin, A., Slepian, M. L., & Galinsky, A. D. (2022). The gender-equality paradox and optimal distinctiveness: More gender-equal societies have more gendered names. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 12(2), 490-499. [PDF]

Applying Goals-Means Frameworks

Many subfields in psychology deal with motivational processes, yet fail to incorporate a central distinction in goal pursuit: Goals, and the means for pursuing those goals. My colleagues and I have applied this distinction to elucidate basic aspects of emotion regulation, the psychology of religion, and acculturation.

Emotion Regulation: Emotion regulation strategies have been typically studied independently of the specific emotions people try to change by using them. We show that emotion regulation choice and efficacy are driven by fit between reappraisal tactics and the emotions one regulates, and that this fit is driven by the emotions’ underlying appraisals (Vishkin, Hasson, Millgram, & Tamir, 2020). In so doing, we tie together the literatures on appraisal theories and emotion regulation. A conceptual paper further highlights the importance of the distinction between goal-setting and goal striving to understand the process of emotion regulation (Tamir, Vishkin, & Gutentag, 2020).

The Psychology of Religion: Two lines of research in the psychology of religion have developed independently of each other: how people are religious and why they are religious. We argue that people’s religious expressions (the ‘how’) serve their religious motivations (the ‘why’). We demonstrate this by modeling associations between religious expressions and motivations among Christians in the United Kingdom and Jews in Israel (Vishkin, Ben-Nun Bloom, Arikan, & Ginges, 2022). Review papers apply this model to elucidate links between religion and democratic commitment (Ben-Nun Bloom, Arikan, & Vishkin, 2021) and between religion and the acceptance and integration of immigrants (Vishkin & Ben-Nun Bloom, 2022).

Acculturation: Research on acculturation has not adequately distinguished between people’s motivations in acculturation and their means for fulfilling those motivations. We measured both motivations and means in acculturation, and showed that means which facilitate the attainment of a given acculturation motivation are more likely to be linked to it (Vishkin, Horenczyk, & Ben-Nun Bloom, 2021).


Vishkin A., & Ben-Nun Bloom, P. (2022). The influence of religion on the acceptance and integration of immigrants: A multi-dimensional perspective. Current Opinion in Psychology, 47, 101421. [PDF]

Vishkin A., Ben-Nun Bloom, P. Arikan, G., & Ginges, J. (2022). A motivational framework of religion: Tying together the why and the how of religion.  European Journal of Social Psychology, 52, 420-434. [PDF]

Ben-Nun Bloom, P., Arikan, G., & Vishkin, A. (2021). Religion and democratic commitment: A unifying motivational framework. Advances in Political Psychology, 41(1), 75-108. [PDF]

Vishkin, A., Horenczyk, G., & Ben-Nun Bloom, P. (2021). A motivational framework of acculturation. Brain & Behavior, 11(8), e2267. [PDF]

Tamir, M., Vishkin, A., & Gutentag, T. (2020). Emotion regulation is motivated. Emotion, 20(1), 115-119. [PDF]

Vishkin, A., Hasson, Y., Millgram, Y., & Tamir, M. (2020). One size does not fit all: Tailoring cognitive reappraisal to different emotions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 46(3), 469-484. [PDF]

Religion & Emotion Regulation

Religiosity has been associated with a unique profile of emotion experience. One explanation is that people who are more (vs. less) religious differ in their emotional reactivity. My colleagues and I investigated a different account: people who are more religious engage in emotion regulation differently than people who are less religious.

We began by elucidating potential links between religion and various aspects of emotion regulation (Vishkin, Bigman, & Tamir, 2014). We then put some of these ideas to the test. First, we found that religiosity is consistently linked with the frequency of using the emotion regulation strategy of cognitive reappraisal, as well as its successful implementation, across Christians, Muslims, and Jews (Vishkin, Bigman, Porat, Solak, Halperin, & Tamir, 2016). Use of cognitive reappraisal accounts for part of the association between religiosity and well-being (Vishkin, Ben-Nun Bloom, & Tamir, 2019). Second, across cultures and religions, religiosity was associated with desiring emotions that strengthen foundational religious beliefs, including more awe and gratitude and less pride, but not with desiring emotions that promote prosocial engagement (Vishkin, Schwartz, Ben-Nun Bloom, Solak, & Tamir, 2020). A final investigation examined links between religiosity and various aspects of emotion regulation (Vishkin, Ben-Nun Bloom, Schwartz, Solak, & Tamir, 2019).

We built on these findings to model how religion can cope with existential anxieties not only via problem-focused coping (as proposed by Terror Management Theory), but also via emotion-focused coping (Vishkin & Tamir, 2020). A final paper reviews whether and how links between religiosity and various elements of emotion regulation are variable or consistent across religious affiliations and national contexts (Vishkin, 2021).


Vishkin, A. (2021). Variation and consistency in the links between religion and emotion regulation. Current Opinion in Psychology, 40, 6-9. [PDF]

Vishkin, A., & Tamir, M. (2020). Fear not: Religion and emotion regulation in coping with existential concerns. In K. E. Vail III & C. Routledge (eds.), The Science of Religion, Spirituality, and Existentialism (pp. 325-338). Oxford, UK: Elsevier. [PDF]

Vishkin, A., Schwartz, S. H., Ben-Nun Bloom, P., Solak, N., & Tamir, M. (2020). Religiosity and desired emotions: Belief maintenance or prosocial facilitation? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 46(7), 1090-1106. [PDF]

Vishkin, A., Ben-Nun Bloom, P., Schwartz, S. H., Solak, N., & Tamir, M. (2019). Religiosity and emotion regulation. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 50(9), 1050-1074. [PDF]

Vishkin, A., Ben-Nun Bloom, P., & Tamir, M. (2019). Always look on the bright side of life: Emotion regulation, religiosity, and well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 20(2), 427-447. [PDF]

Vishkin, A., Bigman, Y., Porat, R., Solak, N., Halperin, E., & Tamir, M (2016). God rest our hearts: Religiosity and cognitive reappraisal. Emotion, 16(2), 252-262. [PDF]

Vishkin, A., Bigman, Y., & Tamir, M. (2014). Religion, emotion regulation, and well-being. In C. Kim-Prieto (Ed.), Positive Psychology of Religion and Spirituality Across Cultures (pp. 247-269).  New York, NY: Springer. [PDF]

Rights vs. Responsibilities

Cultures differ in the extent to which they frame arrangements between parties in terms of rights or in terms of responsibilities. This project demonstrates that these alternative framings differentially affect judgment - specifically, for judgments of fairness when there is an unequal distribution between two parties.

חזיתי הנך דאמרי דמאן דמני גברי ולא נשי למניינא הווה ביש והנך דאמרי דלא הוה ביש ואדרבא הווה טונא על גברי ואיבעיא לי במאי פלוגתייהו וחזיתי דהנך מוקמי פתגמייהו בלישנא דזכויות והנך מוקמי פתגמייהו בלישנא דחובות ע"כ אנא רהיטנא מחקרא הדין כי היכי דלמבדק ההיא פלוגתא ונפקא מינהו דמאן דחשיב בלישנא דחובות נח דעתיה אאבדלתא בין איניש ומאן דחשיב בלישנא דזכויות לא נח דעתיה אאבדלתא בין איניש ואי נמי זוטרא דבזוטרתא ולא קאתאנא למקבע מאי קושטא אליבא דאורייתא אי נמי מאן טעי ומאן לא טעי אלא לפרושי מאי שורש פלוגתייהו.


Vishkin, A., & Ginges, J. (2022). Rights and responsibilities are alternative frames that differentially affect judgment. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 13(5), 938-945. [PDF]

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