Kohlberg's cognitive developmental theory.

Basics of the cognitive developmental theory.

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  • Kohlberg
    • cognitive developmental theory.
    • three stages
      • Stage one, age 2 - 3 and a half. gender identity. Can identify self as male or female. can identify others as male or female, dont understand what it means to be male or female.
        • Thompson found that 2 year olds were 76% correct in identifying their own sex and 3 year olds were 90% correct. Supports the theory as it shows that the age for gender identity is correct.
      • stage two. Gender stability, age 3 and a half - 4 and a half years. They realise their gender is not going to change. Can still be confused or mislead by superficial changes.
        • Slaby and Frey studied children between 2 and 5 who were divided into high and low gender constancy groups and showed a split screen silent film about men and women doing gender stereotypical things. Found that children with high gnder constancy spent more time watching the same - sex model than those with low gender constancy.
      • stage 3. Gender constancy. Age 4 and a half - 7 years. They have worked out that gender is constant and are no longer mislead by superficial changes. They will now start to behave in a way expected of boys or girls. They will start to identify with their same sex parent.
        • Ruble studied childrens responsiveness to television adverts for 'girl' and 'boy' toys. Children who had reached gender constancy were more sensitive to the implicit message of the advert that was certain toys were right or wrong for certain genders. Their behaviour was also influenced in their willingness to play with the toy based on how 'gender suitable' they felt it was.
    • Weaknesses of the cognitive developmental theory
      • Bem and Martin and Halverston argue that children begin to pay attention to gender related behaviours much earlier than Kohlberg suggested, at around 2-3 according to the gender schema otheory.
      • If the child isn't at the 'right' stage it can cause unnecessary stress to parents.
      • Doesn't account for biological influences on gender
      • Doesn't explain how children get the schemas they do, like Martin and Halverston.


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