Kohlberg's cognitive theory

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  • Created by: Stasy
  • Created on: 03-04-14 14:27

The cognitive development theory was proposed by Kohlberg and it is a psychological explanation of gender development. This theory has a background which is the theory of Piaget's, who suggested that the way we think changes as we grow older because of physical changes in the brain. In terms of Kohlberg's theory this means that differences in  gender thinking are the outcome  of the age-related changes in the child's cognitive capabilities. As a consequence Kohlberg's gender development gradually occurs in thee stages.

  At the age of two to three children label themselves and others by judging the outward appearances: hair, clothing. They haven't yet achieved full gender constancy and so think of gender as something that can change according to their appearances. According to Piaget's theory thinking during this stage is called pre-operational and is seen to lack internal logic.

As children grow older their ability to identify their own sex increases. Support for this was provided by Thompson who found that 76 % of  children at the age of two and 90% of children at the age of three identify their their sex correctly.

At the age of around four children achieve gender stability which means that now they understand that gender is consistent over time,a boy will grow into a man and a girl will grow into a woman. However they can't yet realise that gender is also constant across situations which means that if a male engages in feminine activities children would see it as a male turning into a female.They lack the ability to conserve - understanding that despite changes in appearances the  main purpose of the object remains unchanged.Slaby and Fray investigated gender stability, they asked the children questions such as "Were you a boy or a girl when you were  baby?"  or "When you grow up are you


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