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Gender Schema Theory Essay

1498 words - 6 pages

Gender Schema theory – Martin and HalversonOutline (AO1) 8 marks
Gender Schema theory (GST) suggests that children learn about gender appropriate behaviour before gender consistency is achieved. The theory assumes that once a child has reached the gender identity stage at the age of 2-3 years. They start to accumulate knowledge about the sexes and order this information in the gender schema. Gender schemas are organised clusters of information about gender appropriate behaviours, attitudes and society’s explanations of each gender. This information is sorted so that it is relevant to their own gender, (the in group) and which is relevant for opposite gender (the out group). The children ...view middle of the document...

This information is sorted so that it is relevant to their own gender, (the in group) and which is relevant for opposite gender (the out group). The children develop gender schemas by interacting with people and thus learning what toys, clothes and behaviour that are appropriate for each gender.
Gender schema theory also suggests that children evaluate their own group positively and the out group negatively. This motivates them to be more like their own group and avoid behaviours of the other group. Children then start to imitate and display behaviours appropriate for their own sex. The theory assumes, once a child has developed a gender schema, they will show preference for the same sex play mates, gender stereotypes activities and actively ignore the other gender.
GST also suggests that children ignore information that is inconsistent with their gender schema and therefore holds fixed attitudes about gender.

Another strength of the theory is that it (AO3) has real life application. Gender schemas may lead to misremembering or even distorting information which has important implications for efforts to reduce gender stereotypes. This means that even when children are exposed to counter-stereotypes they don’t remember them accurately. This suggests that the use of counter-stereotypes may not be the best way to reduce children’s gender schema therefore the theory is high in ecological validity.
Another strength of the theory is that it (AO3) has real life application. Gender schemas may lead to misremembering or even distorting information which has important implications for efforts to reduce gender stereotypes. This means that even when children are exposed to counter-stereotypes they don’t remember them accurately. This suggests that the use of counter-stereotypes may not be the best way to reduce children’s gender schema therefore the theory is high in ecological validity.
Another weakness of the theory is that (AO3) there is explanations of gender that challenges it
Another weakness of the theory is that (AO3) there is explanations of gender that challenges it
A weakness of the theory is that it is reductionist (AO3) the theory does not consider the role of biological factors such as hormones or genes. Therefore the theory provides a simplistic explanation of gender thus making the theory low in internal validity.
A weakness of the theory is that it is reductionist (AO3) the theory does not consider the role of biological factors such as hormones or genes. Therefore the theory provides a simplistic explanation of gender thus making the theory low in internal validity.
A strength of the theory is that it (AO3) helps the legal system realise that children may not be able to provide accurate eye witness testimony, research has found that children were shown pictures that countered stereotypes such as a little boy holding a doll, their gender schema led the children to distort this information so that they assumed it was a girl holding...

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