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    Gender attitudes in early childhood: Behavioral consequences and cognitive antecedents

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    Summary: A study was conducted by psychologists of the University of Amsterdam, to examine the factors that can successfully predict children’s gender intergroup attitudes, among children of age 5 found that on average children have a positive same-gender and negative other-gender attitudes.

    Source: Society for Research in Child Development.

    In India, the past few years have witnessed a very positive awareness against gender stereotyping and gender fluidity. Most of us until very recently were not aware of the fact that biological sex and gender are not something synonymous, they are two different constructs all together. Biological sex refers to the sexual characteristics which a child is born with, while gender refers to the idea of sexuality with which the child or an individual associates himself or herself, clearly indicating gender is a choice of an individual.

    A study was conducted by psychologists of the University of Amsterdam, to examine the factors that can successfully predict children’s gender intergroup attitudes, among children of age 5. The study also undertook the implications of these attitudes for intergroup behavior. In order to do so, 246 ethnically diverse children from low-income backgrounds were critically assessed at ages 4 and 5. The population consisted of Mexican, Chinese, Dominican, and African American.

    On a gross level, children were found to report positive same-gender and negative other-gender attitudes. Positive same-gender attitudes were actually associated with knowledge of gender stereotypes.

    In contrast, positive other-gender attitudes were associated with a considerable amount of flexibility in gender cognitions like stereotype flexibility, and gender consistency.

    Other-gender attitudes actually predicted gender-biased behavior. These patterns were consistent in all ethnic groups. Thus, it can be concluded that early learning about gender categories usually shapes young children’s gender attitudes. These gender attitudes thus shaped already have consequences for children’s intergroup behavior at age 5.



    Published: Society for Research in Child Development.

    Contact: May Ling Halim. Assistant Professor of Psychology, California State University.

    Details: Image source Unsplash

     

    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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