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• boys early rigid A boys late rigid girls early rigid girls late rigid

Age (years)

Figure 13.8 Opposite-sex avoidance of early versus late rigid girls and boys between 5 and 10.

from the two analyses that explored this factor suggest that children's rigidity development is related to their sex-typed choices. For example, children's preferences tended to vary as a function of the age that they reached their peak level of rigidity, though once again these relations were somewhat stronger for boys. Moreover, boys who displayed a higher level of peak rigidity and boys whose peak rigidity occurred earlier showed either stronger same-sex preferences or opposite-sex avoidance than boys who were less rigid. Interestingly, the link between rigidity and preferences for girls showed a clear developmental trend, such that opposite-sex avoidance depended on the age at which they most rigidly applied their gender knowledge. Thus, these analyses help advance our knowledge of gender development by suggesting that rigidity may moderate the relationship between gender stereotype understanding and sex-typed choices for concrete objects and activities. Future research that goes beyond the individual level of analysis will, hopefully, expand these findings by showing how children at different developmental stages are affected by situational and group factors.

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