ERIC Number: ED393603
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Sex Differences in the Use of Science and Technology in Children's Cartoons.
Durham, Staci; Brownlow, Sheila
Children learn sex-appropriate behavior through the influences of parents, teachers and the media. This study examined the most popular medium, television, and in particular television cartoons and their influence on children's attitudes toward science and technology. The amount and types of science and technology, along with the types of participation of male and female characters in scientific activities were examined in four television cartoons. The cartoons' characters were evaluated according to the following criteria: (1) intent of use of science and technology; (2) consequences/rewards of behavior; (3) locus of control; (4) attributions of success; (5) physical state; (6) physical activity; (7) intellectual activity; (8) social activity; and (9) emotional activity. Results revealed that most characters in the cartoons were males who used science and technology often, usually while being aggressive. When female characters were shown, they were portrayed as both able and prosocial, using science and technology for the good of others. Female characters were also more sharing and caring, and were less angry, fearful, and violent than male characters. The findings suggest that the portrayal of female characters as competent may be successfully linked with the tendency to also show them as prosocial. Despite the positive portrayal of female characters, however, their appearance was rare and they were usually not the main focus of action. Contains 34 references and four tables. (Author/JA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association (42nd, Norfolk, VA, March 1996).