Social Influences on Gender Role
Social Cognitive Theory (social learning theory) AO1
- Bandura (1991) proposed that gender role development is the result of learning from social agents who model and reinforce gender role behaviours
- Indirect Reinforcement: Children observe the behaviour of others and learn the consequences of the behaviours (vicarious reinforcement)
- Direct Reinforcement: Although boys and girls may learn characteristic behaviours of both sexes, they do not perform everything they learn. E.G Perry and Bussey: boys may learn a lot from observing their mothers about homemaking but rarely adopt that role.
- Direct Tuition: Children learn through indirect reinforcement but also through direct instructions about appropriate gender behaviour.
Social Cognitive Theory AO2/3
✓Evidence to support modelling
- Bandura’s initial source of evidence was from the Bobo doll studies which showed the effects of adult models on children’s aggression
- The effect of same sex models on children has also been demonstrated for gender from the study by Perry and Bussey.
- However the children only modelled same sex behaviour as long as the behaviour was not counter to gender stereotypes (e.g a man wearing a dress) so seems that the effects of modelling are limited by existing stereotypes
Direct Tuition may be more effective than modelling
- Martin et al (1995) found that preschool boys played with toys labelled ‘boys toys’ (direct tuition as they were told the toys were for boys).
- They did this even if they saw girls playing with them but didn’t play with toys labelled girls’ toys even when they saw boys playing with them (don’t model same-sex behaviour when told that…