Social learning explanation of gender development Flashcards Preview

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What is the Social Learning Theory?

A way of explaining behaviour that includes both direct and in-direct reinforcement, combining learning theory with the role of cognitive factors


What does the SLT say about gender?

It says that all behaviour, including gender, is learned so believes the environment (nurture) shapes gender development (teachers, parents, media & culture..)


How does direct reinforcement create gender development?

Boys & girls will be directly praised/criticized for engaging in gender in/appropriate behaviour - this encourages gender development


What is differential reinforcement?

This is the way in which boys and girls are encouraged to show distinct gender appropriate behaviour.
Children are more likely to imitate or execute behaviour that has been reinforced


How does indirect (vicarious) reinforcement create gender development?

Children learn from the consequences of observed behaviour. If they a girl sees another little girl complemented by there mum for wearing make-up they'll do the same. (this also works in reverse)


What is identification?

Identification is the process where a child attaches themselves to an individual who is 'like me' or who they want to be like bc the child sees that persons qualities as rewarding


How does identification lead to gender development?

The person with whom the child identifies becomes a role model (often same sex, high status, attractive) they may then model gender appropriate behaviour for the child to observe and imitate - this is modelling - a child who imitates this is also said to be modelling


What are the 4 mediational processes believed to be central to the learning of gender behaviour?

Attention - noticing the behaviour
Retention - remembering the behaviour
Motivation - the desire to imitate the behaviour
Motor Reproduction - the ability to imitate the behaviour


What are the evaluation points for the social learning theory explanation of gender development?

Supporting evidence (+)
Explains changing gender roles in Western society (+)
Not a developmental theory (-)
Comparison with the biological approach (-)


What is the supporting evidence for the SLT explanation of gender development?

Smith & Lloyd (1978) - babies 4-6 months - dressed half the time of boys & half as girls (regardless of actual sex) - boys were encouraged to be adventurous by adults while girls were encouraged to be passive - gender-appropriate behaviour is stamped in at an early age by differential reinforcement


How does the SLT explanation account for changing gender roles in Western society?

Social norms have changed since the 1950s and gender stereotypes have changed also, as there has been no biological changes we can assume social (nurture) effects have caused this - as the SLT explanation suggests


How does the SLT suffer from not being a developmental theory?

It doesn't provide an adequate explanation of how learning processes change with age. Also, it says ppl need to be able to complete 'motor reproduction' of a behaviour to learn it - yet it also says modelling can occur at any age


How is the SLT explanation limited when compared to the biological explanation?

The SLT approach places very little emphasis on the influence of genes and chromosomes - the case of David Reimer showed it wasn't possible to override the chromosomal influence and raise a biological male as a female