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Gender Roles and Differences;

Cultural Influences
Child Psychology
Dr. Cara DiYanni

© Cara DiYanni
Any use of this presentation without the
express permission of its author (Cara
DiYanni) is a violation of copyright
Important Terms and Concepts
 Sex:

 Gender:

 Gender concept/ constancy:

 Gender-role typing/ Sex-typed behaviors:

Gender (cont’d)
Important Terms and Concepts (cont’d)
Cross-cultural study: 25 countries, college students, assign
adjectives as M or F (Williams & Best, 1982; 1990); Lueptow,
Garovich, & Lueptow (2001; data from 1974-1997): no change
Universal attributions: (see also p. 530)
 Males:
(Instrumental traits: reflect competence, rationality, & assertiveness)
 Females:
(Expressive traits: reflect warmth, caring, & sensitivity)

Exceptions: Educated women, Males & females w/ working moms:

Men vs. women:

Gender (cont’d)
Males vs. Females: Fact and Fiction
1. Sociability: social stimuli, interaction, responsiveness

2. Physical strength: childhood vs. adolescence

3. Aggressiveness:

4. Self-esteem: area (e.g., verbal skills); reports vs. behavior

5. Verbal ability: earlier maturation of girls? (after age 11)

6. Math ability: around age 12; tests vs. classroom

Gender (cont’d)
Males vs. Females: Fact and Fiction
7. Activity level: childhood vs. adulthood

8. Emotionality: self-report vs. observation

9. Vulnerability to stress:

10. Achievement motivation: neutral vs. competitive vs. academic


11. Suggestibility: mediated by sex of interviewer

12. GPA & SAT scores:

SAT: Verbal/ Math
High School GPA:
Gender (cont’d)
Males vs. Females: Fact and Fiction
Gender differences refer to averages

(within vs. between groups)

Knowing gender does not predict behavior

e.g., academic performance correlations:

High school and college GPA:
Gender and math:
Gender and verbal:
Gender and aggression:
Sex Overlap,
Abilities and Personalities
Source: Berk (2009)
Stereotype Threat

Stereotype Threat: threat of being viewed via a negative

stereotype and of behaving to confirm it
 Gender (Steele, 1997): told test shows gender
differences favoring men

If females asked gender at end of test…

 Asian vs. Caucasian (Steele, 1999): told difficult math

tests, Asians usually do better

 White vs. Black (Steele & Aronson, 1995);

questionnaire before test (indicate race)
Effects of Stereotype Threat on

Figure 8.10,
p. 341
Stereotype Threat (cont’d)

Study (NOTE: All participants were Asian children)

Ethnicity (Asian) Gender Neutral

K-2 Color picture Color picture Color picture
(Asians, rice & (e.g., girl with (landscape)
chopsticks) doll)
3-8 Questionnaire re Questionnaire Questionnaire re
ethnicity re gender animals
Stereotype Threat (cont’d)
Calling Attention to:
Ethnicity Gender
Gender Grade
Females K-2
Males K-2
Most affected:
Why: distraction, self-consciousness, test anxiety...
Theories of Gender Development
1. Psychoanalytic Theory (Freud)

2. Biological Model
 Hormones:
• 1) Humans: genitals
• 2) Other animals (hormone (androgen) levels
manipulated prenatally)  active, aggressive...
• 3) Natural experiences: CAH (congenital adrenal

 David: a boy reared as a girl:

Theories of Gender Development
2. Biological Model (cont’d)
 Brain lateralization: males vs. females

Evolutionary history: competition/ dominance vs.

intimacy/ nurturance/ child-rearing (97% of mammalian

Cross-cultural similarity: instrumental (M) and

expressive (F); diversity in magnitude of difference (see
also p. 536)
Theories of Gender Development (cont’d)
3. Cognitive Theory (“Self-Socialization Theory”): cognitive
ability tied to understanding of gender

 (a) Kohlberg
 Gender identity (age 3):

 Gender stability (age 4):

 Gender constancy (age 5-7):

Development of gender constancy is tied to understanding of...

Theories of Gender Development
3. Cognitive Theory (“Self-socialization Theory”) (cont’d)
 (b) Bem (based on Information Processing)
 Gender-schema: way we organize information into
categories; influences what you do, attend to, and
Children remember:


Motivations arise from gender schema

Acquired early
Gender (cont’d)
Theories of Gender Development (cont’d)
4. Learning Theory
 Reinforcement
 Modeling/ Observational learning
NOTE: Societal expectations = learned

 Parents (toys, clothes, bedrooms) / other adults

 Peers
 Teachers

 Media
Gender (cont’d)
When It’s Not So Clear-Cut
Androgyny: (see also pp. 547-8; 562-63): combination of M &
F characteristics (blending)

Gender-role confusion/ reassignment:

1. Environmental: e.g., small genitals, circumcision “mistakes”

2. Biological: e.g., CAH, genetic disorders, ambiguous genitals,

Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome

3. Individual choice: operations, hormones…

 Intersex individuals (hermaphrodites): born with ambiguous
genitalia & other physical & hormonal abnormalities

 Gender Dysphoria (transsexualism):

Gender (cont’d)
When It’s Not So Clear-Cut (cont’d)
3. Individual choice (cont’d):
• Homosexuality:
o Genetic evidence (Bailey & Pillard, 1991): MZ vs. DZ vs.
o Brain:
(a) Anterior hypothalamus (LeVay, 1991): sexual behavior in
males; heterosexual males vs. homosexual males
(b) Anterior commissure (Allen & Gorski, 1989): unrelated to
sexual behavior...may suggest early developmental
differentiation; homosexual men vs. heterosexual women vs.
heterosexual men
Children of homosexuals (Patterson):
Gender (cont’d)
When It’s Not So Clear-Cut (cont’d)
 3 separate levels of hormone influence:
(a) sexual organs, (b) sexual identity, & (c) sexual orientation
Hormones Chromo- Organs ID Attract-
somes ion
Male with Gender
(M-F Transsexual)

Gender (cont’d)
Societal Pressures and Problems
Gender role strain (Pleck):

Cultural Hypertrophy of Biological Gender Dimorphism


Biological Traits:
1. Women: wider hips, less body hair

2. Men: broader shoulders

Psychological Traits:
Cultural and Ethnic Influences
Main Terms and Concepts
Individualism: separate entities, personal needs
Collectivism: part of group, group goals
Urban: potential problems: crowding, crime, substandard housing...
Rural: more daily responsibilities, less neighbors, less access...
Poverty: US (2016): 19.5% of children < 18 (72.45 million);
Native American: ; African American: ; Hispanic American: ;
Asian American: ; whites: ; single moms: single dads:
married couples:
Effects include:
 Higher mortality rates
 Increased risk for aggression/ crime
Cultural and Ethnic Influences
Main Terms and Concepts
Effects of Poverty: (cont’d)
 Increased risk for teenage pregnancy
 Increased risk for poor parenting

 Risky neighborhoods
 Less education and other opportunities and resources

Acculturation: process of learning the language, social skills,

values, and customs of a culture; difficulty varies (changes for
immigrants and for US)

Immigration: 13.1% of U.S. population was foreign-born (2013);

second-generation (children of immigrants, born in U.S.: in school,
self-esteem, distress, delinquency, health = or better than those with
native-born parents
Distribution of Immigrants to the U.S., 2014

Location of Origin Percentage of Immigrants

Asia 42.4
Mexico 13.2
Carribean 13.2
Africa 9.7
Europe 8.2
South America 7.3
Central America 4.4

Cultural and Ethnic Influences (cont’d)
Person Perception and Prejudice
Person Perception: size up the attributes of familiar people

 Before age 8: concrete, commonly experienced

 As they get older: consistencies

Also: making sense of diversity and inequality:

 3’s and 4’s: understand race and i.d, not social class
and occupational prestige

 Early school years: absorb prevailing societal attitudes

toward social groups
Cultural and Ethnic Influences (cont’d)
Person Perception and Prejudice (cont’d)
Factors influencing Person Perception & Prejudice:
1. Pick up messages from:
 Parents (indirect and direct)
 Implicit messages in environment
 Teachers
Study: 7-12-year-olds; yellow vs. blue group, teachers
recognize one group

2. Specific learning experiences: specific > overall prejudice

3. Fixed view of personality traits: fixed/ rigid judgments

Cultural and Ethnic Influences (cont’d)
Person Perception and Prejudice (cont’d)
Factors influencing Person Perception & Prejudice (cont’d)
4. Attempt to increase self-esteem:

5. Social world that sorts people into groups: if adults

highlight group distinctions...

Understanding of same vs. different improves with age

Cultural and Ethnic Influences (cont’d)
Identity Development
Identity Development: lifelong process, blending personality
and context
 Influenced by personality, family, peers, school...

Ethnic Identity: enduring aspect of self

Complicated by:
 Discrimination and Inequality
 Feeling in-between
Cultural and Ethnic Influences (cont’d)
Identity Development (cont’d)
Society’s role
1. Reduce poverty
2. Promote effective parenting
3. Ensure respect of cultures and traditions
4. Foster contact
5. Foster respect between groups

Secure ethnic identity associated with:

• Higher self-esteem
• Optimism
• Sense of mastery over the environment
• More positive attitudes  one’s ethnic group
Cultural and Ethnic Influences (cont’d)
Child-Rearing and Family Styles
(See also pp. 582-584, including the box on p. 583)
Child-rearing beliefs and practices differ among cultures
 Chinese:
o More controlling
o More directive in teaching
o More likely to shame child

 Hispanic and Pacific-Island:

o Respect for parental authority
o High parental warmth

o Dads spend more time with kids

Cultural and Ethnic Influences (cont’d)
Child-Rearing and Family Styles
Child-rearing beliefs and practices differ among cultures (cont’d)
 African-American:
o Moms often expect immediate obedience (especially if
young, single, less educated)

o Importance of how children view parental behavior

o Combine strictness with warmth and reasoning

Family structure and child-rearing can buffer the stress of

poverty E.g., Extended-family household (see also pp. 583-4);
emphasize cooperation/ values/ education about heritage