alexa Gender bias in children's perceptions of personality traits
Psychiatry

Psychiatry

Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior

Author(s): Kimberly K Powlishta

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Social psychologists have demonstrated that when people are divided into social categories, even ones created arbitrarily, they often display favoritism for members of their own group. The current study used an intergroup perspective on gender to examine sex differences in children's perceptions of personality traits. 167 eight- to ten-year-olds were asked to evaluate 48 traits in terms of either their masculinity versus femininity or their positivity versus negativity. As predicted, children's ratings reflected strong biases favoring their own sex. This “ingroup favoritism” occurred not because boys and girls preferred traits traditionally associated with their sex. In fact, sex differences on the negativity—positivity ratings were virtually absent. Instead, boys and girls had differing views of the masculinity or femininity of personality traits, assigning more positive and fewer negative traits to their own sex than to the other. Implications for gender segregation and for the development of stereotyping are discussed.

This article was published in Sex Roles and referenced in Journal of Child and Adolescent Behavior

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