Kohlberg's Cognitive Development (Cognitive Explanations of Gender)

  • Created by: rhallett
  • Created on: 21-09-15 19:05
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  • Kohlberg's Cognitive Development Theory
    • Gender development is primarily shaped by mental processes and not the environment
    • Argues that as children's cognitive abilities mature, their understand of gender develops through 3 universal stages
    • 1) Gender Identity - 2.5-3.5 years; child can label their own gender, may think they can grow up to be a diff. gender, think its based on looks
    • 2) Gender Stability - 3.5-4.5 years - child understands that gender is stable but still thinks its based on looks like hair length
    • 3) Gender Constancy - 4.5-7 years; child understands that gender is constant and not affected by looks, now have a complete understand and want to act in gender approp. ways
    • Evidence
      • +McConoghy - children between 3.5 and 4 (Stability) used clothes and hair length to decide upon the sex of a doll
        • Children have reached Stability; identify gender by superficial-ness
      • +Slaby & Frey showed 2-5 children a silent film of 2 role models, the children of high Constancy spent longer watched the same sex role model
        • Some children having reached Constancy they will be wanting to act in gender appropriate ways
      • -Bussey found that children aged 4 felt good about playing with gender approp. toys but bad about gen. inapprop. ones
        • Goes against because the children haven't reached Constancy so they shouldn't care about gender behaviour
      • -Bradbard gave 3 yr olds a number of gender neutral items eg number puzzle or burglar alarm and were told they were either for boys or girls - children spent longer attention on same sex objects and were better at remembering them later
        • Goes against because they haven't reached Constancy and so should show litter interest in gender typed activities


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