Author(s): Kevin Durkin Bradley Nugent
This study examined four- and five-year-oldchildren's predictions concerning the sexof personscarrying out a variety of common activities andoccupations on television. The purpose of the study wasto investigate the possibility that young childrenmay have stereotyped beliefs and expectations which canbe applied in the course of television viewing.Preschoolers of European Australian background viewed short scenes establishing the need for avariety of activities and in each case were asked toindicate who would perform the activity: a man, a womanor both. The children's responses revealed strong gender stereotyped expectations, and these werestrongest in the case of masculine stereotypedactivities. With age, children were more likely to makestereotyped judgments about the ability of males andfemales to perform the activities. The children'sestimates of their own future competence in theactivities also indicated stereotypical beliefs, withthe older girls more likelyto rejectmasculineactivities. It is argued that children's preconceivedexpectations furnish an organizational basis for theirinterpretation of gender related information intelevision.