The Role of Peers' Gender in Children's Naturally Occurring Interest in Toys

Rita Shell, Nancy Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The purpose of the present study was to examine naturalistically the role of same-sex and other-sex peers' contemporaneous and prior attention to toys in preschoolers' subsequent engagement with, and disengagement from, non-gender-typed toys. Contemporaneous peer involvement was significantly associated with children's toy adoption; cumulative peer involvement was not significantly related to attention to toys once the effects of contemporaneous peer involvement were controlled. Both the proportion and the absolute number of same-sex peers were higher when children initially became engaged with the toys than when they were close to the toys but did not attend to them. Moreover, for boys, there were more other-sex peers attending to the toys when children ceased involvement with the toys than when they initially became interested in the toy. The implications of the data for understanding the role of peer interaction in gender-stereotypic interest in toys are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)373-388
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Development
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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