Accessibility of Gender Stereotype Domains: Developmental and Gender Differences in Children

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The present research examined developmental and gender differences in the relative accessibility of different gender stereotype domains. A 1988 Northeastern US sample of 256 children ages 3 to 10 years old provided open-ended descriptions of girls and boys. Responses were coded by domain to examine differences by grade, gender of participant, and gender of target. Analyses revealed that girls and older children provided a higher proportion of stereotypes, and that appearance stereotypes were particularly prevalent in descriptions of girls and activity/trait stereotypes were more prevalent in descriptions of boys. Results are discussed in terms of implications for research on the stereotype knowledge–behavior link and the need for more attention to the role of appearance stereotypes in the gender stereotype literature.

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