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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Children’s Use of Gender as a Social Cue: A Replication Study


It has been well researched that social hierarchies can determine the developmental outcomes of young children, but little has been studied about the timing of when children develop an understanding of social hierarchies in their respective communities. It was hypothesized that children believe social status co-varies with gender and is unaffected by in-group bias, and that these beliefs are modulated by the child’s own identity. Using multiple tasks that will be discussed in the methods, the hypotheses were tested on children ages 3.5-6.9 years. Results suggest that children use gender as a social cue for status, and boys show in-group bias whereas girls do not. In today’s social climate, it is important to understand children’s development of beliefs in the context of social hierarchies, such as gender, in order to understand the impact of these concepts on self-image, success, and equity.

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