The pronouns he, she, and they were compared with he and she alternating, to examine recall and gender interpretation of stories. Participants, who were ethnically diverse, were 48 girls and boys aged 6 and 9 from working-class and middle-class areas of San Antonio. Children read stories about imaginary characters of ambiguous gender referred to by varying pronouns and enjoying either stereotypically masculine, feminine, or neutral activities. Recall was higher for girls, older children, and children who heard stories containing she instead of he. Six-year-olds, but not 9-year-olds, recalled more information from stories containing gender-consistent activities. Interpretation of character gender for he, she, and he/she alternating was based largely on pronoun; for stories using they, it was based both on pronoun and activity. The results underscore the nongeneric nature of generic pronouns and the gender differences in recall and interpretation evoked by contact with gender specific reading material.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 16, 2004
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