The cognitive theory of gender: Focuses on thinking behind gender development. Need to look at mental processing. Two theories: -Kohlrabi’s cognitive development theory. -Gender schema theory. Cognitive Approach: Considers development of thought patterns and cognitions. Chills perception of gender is crucial for acquisition of gender. Series of developmental steps or stages that a child goes through before their perception of gender is fully developed.
Kohlrabi’s cognitive development theory: Child actively participates in developing an understanding of gender and gender- appropriate behavior through gender identity. Children’s discovery that they are male or female causes them to identify with their own sex. (Opposite to social learning theory). Children’s minds develop in set stages linked generally with their age, so as child’s cognitive abilities develop – so does its understanding of gender. 3 universal stages of development: Egocentrics; Chills inability to see a situation from another persons point of view.
Conservation; Ability to understand that the properties of an object stay the same even if the appearance changes. Gender is a constant attribute. Goldberg (1966) Gender Constancy Theory: Gender labeling: 2-3. 5 years old. Label gender based on appearance. Gender stability; 3. 5-4. 5 years. Gender is consistent over time but not across situations. Appearance still a fact. Gender consistency; 6 years. Gender is constant over time and situations. Gender appropriate behavior. The theory does not explain gender dysphasia.
Ignores biological approach. Gender Labeling. 2-3 years; doesn’t take into account before birth. Children able to say their sex. Label others based on their sex. No understanding that sex is stable across time. Fooled by outward appearance. Unable to conserve. 2. Gender Stability. 3-4 years. Understand their own sex is stable and changing their appearance does not change what they feel inside. Still egocentric. Understand their own sex is fixed but don’t understand this applies to everyone. Fooled by external appearance of others. 3.
Gender Constancy. Years. Understand gender as adults do. De-centre and understand other peoples point of view. Everyone sex is constant across time and situations. No longer fooled by outward appearance of behaviors. Now able to conserve. Use genitals to understand a persons sex: use this instead of outward appearance and behaviors. Genitals are unchangeable. Seek out role models. Children identify with members of the same gender. Children imitate and internalize the behaviors of these role models to help them develop their sense of gender.
Only when a child understands gender constancy will he/she become highly titivated to behave in a way that is expected of them as a boy or girl. Children pay attention and show systematic gender role behaviors only after they have truly understood that gender is for life. Gender role behavior should appear around 5. Evidence: Mahogany (1979): Children under 4 Judged sex of doll by appearance rather than genitalia. Supports Kohlrabi’s theory and shows children who haven’t reached the gender consistency stage, Judge sex based on outward appearance and don’t have a sophisticated understanding.