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A Schematic Processing Model of Sex Typing and Stereotyping in Children

Carol Lynn Martin and Charles F. Halverson, Jr.
Child Development
Vol. 52, No. 4 (Dec., 1981), pp. 1119-1134
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1129498
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1129498
Page Count: 16
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A Schematic Processing Model of Sex Typing and Stereotyping in Children
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Abstract

The thesis of the present paper is that sex stereotyping is a normal cognitive process and is best examined in terms of information-processing constructs. A model is proposed in which stereotypes are assumed to function as schemas that serve to organize and structure information. The particular schemas involved in stereotyping are described, and the functions and biases associated with these schemas are elaborated. Both the development and maintenance of stereotypes are explained using the schematic processing model. The schematic model is found to be useful for explaining many of the results from sex-typing and stereotyping studies, as well as indicating areas needing further investigation. To describe the relation between sex schemas and other types of schemas, a typology is proposed which divides schemas according to whether they are potentially self-defining and according to their salience or availability. Using the typology, stereotyping and sex stereotyping are said to occur because the schemas involved are self-defining and salient. The role of salience in mediating the use of schemas is discussed.

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