Differing Levels of Gender Salience in Preschool Classrooms: Effects on Children's Gender Attitudes and Intergroup Bias

Lacey J. Hilliard, Lynn S. Liben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations

Abstract

Developmental intergroup theory posits that when environments make social-group membership salient, children will be particularly likely to apply categorization processes to social groups, thereby increasing stereotypes and prejudices. To test the predicted impact of environmental gender salience, 3- to 5-year-old children (N = 57) completed gender attitude, intergroup bias, and personal preference measures at the beginning and end of a 2-week period during which teachers either did or did not make gender salient. Observations of peer play were also made at both times. After 2 weeks, children in the high- (but not low-) salience condition showed significantly increased gender stereotypes, less positive ratings of other-sex peers, and decreased play with other-sex peers. Children's own activity and occupational preferences, however, remained unaffected.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1787-1798
Number of pages12
JournalChild development
Volume81
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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

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