Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

The effects of sex-Typed labeling on preschool children's information-Seeking and retention

Abstract

When preschool children are exposed to novel objects, will their tactual and verbal information seeking about these objects and the amount of information they remember about these objects be influenced by whether an adult labels them as things “for girls” or “for boys”? The findings reveal that children actually explored less frequently, asked fewer questions, and recalled the names of objects less frequently when the objects were labeled for the opposite sex than when they were labeled either for their own sex or for both sexes. The results are discussed both in terms of implications for adults who aim to broaden the scope of learning available to children and in terms of the need for additional research to clarify the relation between sex-typed labeling and memory mechanisms involved in facilitating or inhibiting recall.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Bradbard, M. R., & Endsley, R. C. How can teachers develop young children's curiosity? What current research says to teachers. Young Children, 1980, 35, 21–32.

  2. Brindley, C., Clark, P., Hunt, C., Robinson, I., & Wethli, E. Sex differences in the activities and social interaction of nursery school children. In Michael & Crook (Eds.), Comparative ecology and the behavior of primates. London: Academic Press, 1972.

  3. Coie, J. An evaluation of the cross-situational stability of children's curiosity. Journal of Personality, 1974, 42, 93–116.

  4. Fagot, B. I. The influence of sex of child on parental reactions to toddler children. Child Development, 1978, 49, 459–465.

  5. Gold, D., & Berger, C. Problem-solving performance of young boys and girls as a function of task appropriateness and sex identity. Sex Roles, 1978, 4, 183–193.

  6. Golberg, S. E., & Lewis, M. Play behavior in the year-old infant: Early sex differences. Child Development, 1969, 40, 21–31.

  7. Kail, R. V., & Levine, L. E. Encoding processes and sex-role preferences. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 1976, 21, 256–263.

  8. Koblinsky, S. G., Cruse, D. F., & Sugawara, A. I. Sex role stereotypes and children's memory for story content. Child Development, 1978, 49, 452–458.

  9. Kohlberg, L. A. A cognitive-developmental analysis of children's sex-role concepts and attitudes. In E. E. Maccoby (Ed.), The development of sex differences. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1966.

  10. Maccoby, E. E., & Jacklin, C. N. The psychology of sex differences. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1974.

  11. Maccoby, E. E., & Wilson, W. C. Identification and observational learning from films. Journals of Abnormal and Social Psychology, 1957, 55, 76–87.

  12. Marantz, S. A., & Mansfield, A. F. Development of sex-role stereotyping in five-to eleven-year-old girls. Child Development, 1977, 48, 668–673.

  13. Marcus, D. E., & Overton, W. F. The development of cognitive gender constancy and sex role preferences. Child Development, 1978, 49, 434–444.

  14. Mischel, W. Sex-typing and socialization. In P. Mussen (Ed.), Carmichael's manual of child psychology (3rd ed., vol. 2). New York: Wiley, 1970. Pp. 3–72.

  15. Montemayor, R. Children's performance in a game and their attraction to it as a function of sex-typed labels. Child Development, 1974, 45, 152–156.

  16. Nadelman, L. Sex identity in American children: Memory, knowledge and preference tests. Developmental Psychology, 1974, 10, 413–417.

  17. Piaget, J. The psychology of intelligence. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1950.

  18. Pick, A. D., Frankel, D. G., & Hess, V. L. Children's attention: The development of selectivity. In E. M. Hetherington (Ed.), Review of child development research (Vol. 5) Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975.

  19. Ross, H. S., & Killey, J. C. The effects of questioning on retention. Child Development, 1977, 48, 312–314.

  20. Saario, T. N., Tittle, C. K., & Jacklin, C. N. Sex role stereotyping in the public schools. Harvard Educational Review, 1973, 43, 386–416.

  21. Serbin, L. A., Tonick, I. J., & Sternglanz, S. H. Shaping cooperative cross-sex play. Child Development, 1977, 48, 924–929.

  22. Sigel, I. E., & Cocking, R. R. Cognitive development from childhood to adolescence: A constructivist perspective. New York: Holt, Rinehardt & Winston, 1977.

  23. Slaby, R. G., & Frey, K. S. Development of gender constancy and selective attention to same-sex models. Child Development, 1975, 46, 849–856.

  24. Stein, A. H., Pohly, S. R., & Mueller, E. The influence of masculine, feminine, and neutral tasks on children's achievement behavior, expectancies of success, and attainment values. Child Development, 1971, 42, 195–207.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Marilyn R. Bradbard.

Additional information

This article is based on a dissertation submitted by the first author to the University of Georgia in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy. Portions of this article were presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, San Francisco, March 1979.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Bradbard, M.R., Endsley, R.C. The effects of sex-Typed labeling on preschool children's information-Seeking and retention. Sex Roles 9, 247–260 (1983). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00289627

Download citation

Keywords

  • Social Psychology
  • Additional Research
  • Preschool Child
  • Verbal Information
  • Memory Mechanism