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Rigidity and flexibility of gender stereotypes in children: Developmental or differential?
Abstract and Figures
Previous research has shown that the early learning of male–female categories is characterized by rigid beliefs about stereotypic differences, but that once gender knowledge is well established, the beliefs become more flexible. Because most studies are cross-sectional, it is not known if the early rigidity represents a normative transitional developmental stage that passes, or if early individual differences in rigidity continue into later childhood. To answer that question, analyses were performed on longitudinal data of 64 children who had been questioned about their gender concepts yearly from ages 5 to 10 years. Supporting a cognitive-developmental approach, the findings showed that the period of rigidity was short-lived whether rigidity began early or late or whether the level of peak rigidity was high or low. Copyright © 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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