The Relationship Between Knowledge And Preference

Researchers interested in gender development have gone beyond an assessment of developmental trends to examine the relationship between children's gender stereotypic knowledge and their preferences. One reason for interest in this research has been to test predictions made by cognitive theories of gender development. Cognitive theorists believe that having knowledge of gender stereotypes should influence whether children will match their behavior to gendered norms. As discussed in the section that reviewed theoretical perspectives, however, cognitive factors are not believed to be the only determinant. With that emphasized, we can now summarize the literature that has examined the relationship between knowledge and preferences with the goal of highlighting the status of this research and to point out methodological limitations and benefits that can be used as guides for future research. Given that this literature was reviewed in Aubry et al. (1999), we only present a brief summary here and provide a more detailed account of any recent studies.

The Polarity Path

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