The dual pathways model of gender differentiation suggests two possible pathways that examine the relationships between gender-typed interests and gender stereotypes: (a) an attitudinal pathway model, which suggests that stereotypes may shape interests for gender-schematic children, and (b) a personal pathway model, which suggests that personal interests may lead to the construction of stereotypes that are in line with one’s interests (Liben and Bigler 2002). In Study 1, the personal pathway model was tested by presenting children in the United States (N = 51, M age = 3.99 years-old) with novel toys and assessing the congruence between interests and stereotypes. Results indicated a significant relationship between personal interests and stereotypes such that higher levels of personal interest in toys were associated with more congruent gender stereotypes—stereotypes in which the children endorsed the belief that the toy was only for same-gender children or for both genders. In Study 2, the attitudinal pathway was tested by presenting children in the United States (N = 57, M age = 4.03 years-old) with novel toys that were labeled as “for boys” or “for girls.” Results indicated that gender-schematic children (those who endorsed higher levels of cultural gender stereotypes), but not gender-aschematic children (those who endorsed lower levels of cultural gender stereotypes) were more interested in toys labeled as for their gender than toys labeled as for the other gender. Thus, the results demonstrate that the pathways between these two constructs may be dependent on environmental information, individual differences in personal interest, and gender schematicity as predicted by the dual pathways model.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: May 3, 2016
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