Two studies investigated the impact of target age on gender stereotyping. Study 1 examined whether the attribution of gender-stereotypical traits to unfamiliar individuals varies as a function of target and participant age. Adults and children (ages 8–10 years) viewed photographs of men, women, boys, and girls and rated each pictured individual on the possession of masculine, feminine, and gender-neutral personality traits. Both adult and child participants showed evidence of gender stereotyping. The strongest level of stereotyping was seen when adults rated child targets. Adults were particularly unwilling to attribute feminine characteristics to males. Finally, participants of both ages viewed adult targets (regardless of sex) as more masculine and less feminine than child targets. Study 2 examined the generality of the latter finding. Adult participants rated traditionally masculine and feminine traits on the likelihood of possession by adults versus children. Confirming the results of Study 1, feminine traits were believed to be more childlike/less adultlike than were masculine traits. Implications for gender-role development, socialization, and measurement are discussed.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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