ERIC Number: EJ897739
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
Sex Categorization among Preschool Children: Increasing Utilization of Sexually Dimorphic Cues
Johnson, Kerri L.; Lurye, Leah E.; Tassinary, Louis G.
Child Development, v81 n5 p1346-1355 Sep-Oct 2010
Two studies examined how children between ages 4 and 6 use body shape (i.e., the waist-to-hip-ratio [WHR]) for sex categorization. In Study 1 (N = 73), 5- and 6-year-olds, but not 4-year-olds, selected bodies with increasingly discrepant WHRs to be "most like a man" and "most like a woman." Similarly, sex category judgments made by 5- and 6-year-olds, but not 4-year-olds, varied with WHR. In Study 2 (N = 41), eye movements indicated the functional use of waist and hips in sex categorization. Visual scanning behavior predicted the degree of association between WHR and judgment. Collectively, these results suggest that the ability to exploit sexual dimorphism to compel categorization develops between the ages of 4 and 6. Implications for theories of gender development and psychological essentialism are discussed.
Descriptors: Cues, Eye Movements, Preschool Children, Classification, Human Body, Prediction, Correlation, Gender Differences, Child Development, Cognitive Development
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
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