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What is the basic concept of Kohlberg's gender explanation theory?

The theory is based on the idea that a child's understanding of gender and appropriate gender behaviours becomes more sophisticated with age. Understanding of gender runs parallel to intellectual development as the child mature


How does Kohlberg suggest gender development occurs?

Gradually, and through 3 stages which the child will transition through as they age and develop


What are the three stages in Kohlberg's theory?

1. Gender Identity
2. Gender Stability
3. Gender Constancy


What is gender identity?

Acquired around age 2. The child recognises that they are a boy or girl and possesses the ability to label others as such. Understanding doesn't stretch much beyond labelling and they don't understand constancy


What is gender stability?

Occurring around age 4, the child understands that their own gender is fixed and will remain the same as they grow older. They cannot apply this logic to other people however and are confused by external changes in appearance or unusual gender roles. e.g. a female builder


What is gender constancy?

Reached by about age 6/7, The child realises their gender is consistent over time and situations as is that of other people; they begin to identify with people of their own age and gender and start to behave in gender-appropriate ways


When, according to Kolhberg, do children begin looking for role-models to imitate?

In the gender constancy stage when the child has a fully developed and internalised concept of gender at the constancy stage - they now look for evidence to confirm that concept


What are the evaluation points for Kohlberg's theory?

Evidence supports the sequence of the stages (+)
Constancy not supported (-)
Methodological issues (-)
Comparisons with the SLT (-)


What evidence supports Kohlberg's stages of gender development?

Slaby & Frey (1975) - showed children of different ages 2 clips on a split screen of males and females performing the same task. Younger children spent roughly equal time watching each screen but older children looked more at the screen which was gender-appropriate to them - supports the idea that role-models follow gender constancy at older ages


What evidence challenges Kohlberg's theory of gender constancy?

Bussey & Bandoura (1992) - children as young as 4 felt good playing with gender-appropriate toys and bad when doing the opposite - contradicts Kohlberg idea that children learn gender-appropriate roles etc. at 6/7 in gender constancy


What methodological issues are there with Kohlberg's theory?

He used interviews with children as young as 2/3 - these kids may lack the vocabulary to express their understanding - may have complex ideas about gender but not be able to articulate them


What issues occur when comparing Kohlberg's theory to the SLT theory?

The SLT theory places far more value in the role of external influences on the child's development - evidence suggests boys have more rigid concepts of gender roles than girls and are more resistant to opposite sex activities - likely come from social/cultural origins - hard to explain using Kohlberg's COGNITIVE-DEVELOPMENTAL theory