Kohlberg Essay Plan

essay plan on Kohlberg's theory of gender development

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  • Created on: 17-01-12 13:50
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Kohlberg's Theory Essay Plan
· Focuses on importance of cognition in gender development
· As child matures so does understanding of gender
· Can only acquire concepts of gender when ready
· 3 stages
· Gender identity
· Gender stability
· Gender consistency
· Once they can identify themselves they will pay more attention to same sex models
and start to imitate their behaviour
· Macoby and Jacklin (1974) termed this "self socialisation" independent of other
· As gender stability and consistency are reached they learn appropriate and expected
· Society determines appropriate behaviour yet Kohlberg states consistency is the
cause of acquisition of stereotypes not the effect. Child wont respond to societal
influences until cognitive structural changes have taken place
· Research support Thompson (1975) children demostrated consistent with the
stages. (difference in the two to three year olds when labelling gender. 2 - label other
sexes, trouble with themselves. Oldest 3 - labels others and themselves correctly)
· Research support Sabley and Frey (1975) sequential order. (all who had stability also
had identity, all who had consistency had also identity and stability. Questioned ages
of stages and differences between girls and boys. Consistency at 5)
· Research against Thompson (1975) 2 year olds could identify items belonging to
males or females, evidence of sex role stereotyping long before consistency.
Echoed by findings of Khun et at (1978) (substantial knowledge of stereotyping
consistent with western culture. Societal influences before `cognitive maturity' of
consistency stage)
· Nature/nurture; it's likely both cognitive development and external influences are
mutually reinforcing, internal / external forces are difficult to separate as both occur
at all stages, impossible to remove / control to test the other.
· Methodology; Martin and Little (1990) ways consistency is tested may
underestimate child's level of understanding. Martin and Halverson (1983) showed
4-6's show "pretend response bias" consider responses in a complex way and
answer according to the sex they're pretending to be would not their actual sex.


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