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Memory for Gender-Consistent and Gender-Inconsistent Event Sequences by Twenty-Five-Month-Old Children

Patricia J. Bauer
Child Development
Vol. 64, No. 1 (Feb., 1993), pp. 285-297
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Society for Research in Child Development
DOI: 10.2307/1131452
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1131452
Page Count: 13
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Memory for Gender-Consistent and Gender-Inconsistent Event Sequences by Twenty-Five-Month-Old Children
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Abstract

Gender-schema theory predicts that, based on a rudimentary understanding of gender (e. g., self-labeling), children will invoke gender schemata in the processing of information. In older children, one indication of schematic processing is differential memory for schema-consistent versus schema-inconsistent material. Due to a lack of appropriate measures, evidence of very early use of gender schemata has been limited. In the present study, elicited imitation was used to assess 25-month-old girls' and boys' immediate and delayed recall of sequences depicting female-stereotyped, male-stereotyped, and gender-neutral activities. At immediate and delayed testing, girls showed equivalent levels of recall of all 3 sequence types. Boys showed superior recall of male- relative to female-stereotyped sequences; their recall of gender-neutral sequences was equivalent to that of male-stereotyped ones. Results indicate that, at least for boys, use of gender schemata is evident by 25 months of age. Possible explanations for the absence of a clear effect for girls are discussed.

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