Gender Development

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  • Created by: bethany
  • Created on: 24-04-13 19:23

Gender Schema theory of gender development (A01)

The gender schema theory was devised by Martin and Halverson who suggested that children develop their GI using schemas. A Schema is a cognitive framwework that helps us to organise and interpret information, we find information that does not conform to our established schemas difficult to process and retain.

The theory suggests we develope schemas about gender using our environment and use them to interpret gender related information. Martin and Halverson argues a child learns to label their own sex at around two years old and once this is done thet start to search for things in their environment, eg toys, hair length etc to increase their understanding of what it is to be male and female.

The theory argues that we begin to develope our GI over three stages. The first stage is when a child will learn what things are associated with each sex, eg dolls will become associated with the gi of a girl and toy cars with the gi of a boy. At the second stage a child will begin to be able to draw links between schemas and be able to predict other behaviours of a person, eg that person likes dolls, they will probably have long hair. At the thrid stage, a child is able to draw all the schemas together so they have all the information about both sexes.

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Gender Schema theory of gender development (A01/2

Rathus 1990

Found that children learn that strength is linked to the male role stereotype and weakness to the female role stereotype, and that some dimensions, inclcluding strength-weakness, are more relevant to males. This supports the idea that gender schemas provide a basis for interpreting the environment and selecting appropriate forms of behaviour.

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Gender Schema theory of gender development (A02 re

Campbell et al

65 toddlers, ages two returned to visit the same children when they were three. On both visits the children were asked to pick out specific pictures in the aim to assess the child's gender schema development over the course of a year. It was found that on the first visit only 50% of the children could pick out the same sex child in a large picture book, confirming they had established a basic gender schema. By the second visit 50% of the children could pick out a toy suitable for their own sex. 

Martin and Little

Found that children under tha age of fourdisplayed a strong sense of gender stereotypes of what an individual should be allowed to do. 

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Gender Schema theory of gender development (IDA's)

(I) An Issue with the GST is that there is another opposing theory, the cognitive dev theory that also uses the same basic assumptions of the cog approach, but affirms that children begin to develope their gi later than 2 to 3 years old as suggested by Martin and Halverson. This is a problem because, as both theories use the same approach (the cognitive approach) it is hard to establish which is the most reliable out of the two.

(A) Behaviourist - interactrion with environment 

(D) Free will vs Determinism  (born male/female but also element of free will)

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