Cognitive explanations: Kohlberg's theory


Kohlberg's theory

Stages in development

  • Kohlberg's cognitive-developmental theory of gender is based on the idea that a child's understanding of gender becomes more sophisticated with age
  • Understanding of gender runs parallel to intellectual development as the child matures biologically

Stage 1: Gender identity

  • Around the age of 2, children can correctly identify their gender identity
  • At 3, most children are able to identify other people as male or female
  • Children not aware that sex is permanent

Stage 2: Gender stability

  • At 4, children acquire gender stability
  • They realise that they will always stay the same gender
  • But they cannot apply this same logic to other people in other situations
  • Believe gender is heavily influenced by external appearances

Stage 3: Gender constancy

  • The final stage of development, 6
  • Children recognise that gender remains constant and consistent across time and situations
  • Intenalise their own gender 

Imitation of role models

  • Gender constancy is also significant as children this age begin to…


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