The Development of Gender Stereotype Components

Carol Martin, C. H. Wood, J. K. Little

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations


Developmental research has been limited by a narrow concept of stereotypes. A more complex model is presented, and developmental changes in gender stereotypes were investigated using the new model. In 2 studies, children were told about several sex‐unspecified children, each described as having 1 masculine or 1 feminine characteristic. The children then predicted the likelihood of each story child having other masculine and feminine characteristics. In Study 1, 56 children (4–6 years) were told about target children who liked either a masculine or feminine toy, and then children predicted the targets' interests in other toys. In Study 2, 76 older children (6, 8, 10 years) were told about target children with a masculine or feminine characteristic from 1 of 4 categories (appearance, personality, occupations, toys), and then they predicted the likelihood of targets having other masculine and feminine characteristics from the same and from different categories as the cue. 2 developmental trends emerged: (a) children appear first to learn associations among characteristics relevant to their own sex and, later, to learn them for the other sex, and (b) older children's stereotypic judgments are more extreme than those of younger children. The implications of these results for the development of stereotypes, assessing gender knowledge, and understanding social judgments are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1891-1904
Number of pages14
JournalChild development
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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