Adults Use Gender-Stereotype to Guide Their Reactions to Infants, a Study Discovers

Based on the finding of a study, no gender differences of behavior orientations were observed between baby boys and baby girls at 13 to 14 months. However, adults differentiated their responses to baby girls and baby boys. Adults attended far more to boys’ assertive behaviors than to girls. They also attended to girls' less active communication and to boys' more intense expression. The researchers interpreted that adults use their sex serotype to guide their reactions to very young children because infants’ behaviors are ambiguous.  However, when children turned to the age of 2 years and their behavior had become more defined, adults no longer differentiated their responses to boys and girls. The researcher concluded that “by using the sex stereotype to guide their reactions to younger children, the caregivers may have perpetuated the stereotype.”

Created on November 21 2015 at 08: 00 AM

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1: "Differential Reactions To Assertive And Communicative Acts Of Toddler Boys And Girls," Child Development, 1985, by BI Fagot, R Hagan, MD Leinbach, S Kronsberg. (Citations: 128).

34 children were observed in infant play groups. 2 sets of infant behaviors were coded: assertive acts and attempts to communicate with adults. No sex differences were observed at 13 to 14 months in any of these behaviors. However, adults attended to girls' assertive ...

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Adults Use Gender-Stereotype to Guide Their Reactions to Infants, a Study Discovers

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