ERIC Number: ED286656
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Development of Sex Constancy: The Role of Language.
Beal, Carole R.; Lockhart, Maria E.
Two studies were conducted to determine whether language as well as appearance cues would influence children's performance on a sex constancy task. In the first study, preschoolers and second graders participated in a sex constancy task in which different labels were used to refer to a picture of a boy or girl. The results showed that older children scored higher on sex constancy than the preschoolers, but that children of both ages were more likely to respond correctly when proper names were used in the task than when pronouns or sex-neutral labels were used. In a second study, preschoolers, second graders, and fourth graders were asked whether a change in proper name would change a person's sex. The question was asked both with and without an accompanying change in the appearance of pictured persons. The results showed that preschoolers and second graders thought that sex would be changed by a change in proper name but that fourth graders knew that both proper name changes and appearance changes were irrelevant to sexual identity. The results suggest that children attend to both language cues and information about appearance when determining the sex of another person. (Author/RH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development (Baltimore, MD, April 23-26, 1987).