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Kohlbergs Cognitive Development Theory Essay

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Gender Kohlberg's Cognitive Development Theory Cognitive Development Theory suggests ideas on gender changes with age. Gender is the way someone acts and identifies them. Kohlberg (1966) developed a theory of gender consistency. According to Kohlberg, children develop an understanding of the concept of gender in 3 stages. The first stage is gender identity. The child is aware that they're male or female, but think their gender might change (e.g. wearing opposite sex clothes). This stage usually occurs between the ages of 2 and 3 years. The second stage is gender stability. The children realises that their gender will remain fixed over time (e.g. boys will become men). However, they believe that gender can change in different situations, such as doing an 'opposite-sex activity' (e.g. ...read more.


who asked young children, 'where you a little boy or a little girl when you were a baby?' they also asked 'when you grow up will you be a mummy or a daddy?' children did not recognise that these traits were stable over time, until they were 3 or 4 years old, as Kohlberg predicted. Evidence for gender consistency was also shown by Slaby and Frey. Those children high in gender consistency showed greater interest in same sex models. This suggests Kohlberg predicted that an increasing sense of consistency leads children to pay more attention to gender appropriate models, which was particularly true of boys. However, the kinds of questions used have been criticised since they may not be easy for young children to understand e.g. ...read more.


However, there are some flaws with this theory. For example, gender role behaviour is shown by most boys and girls by the time of their third birthday. This is several years before they have reached gender consistency, so it cannot be argued that all gender role behaviour depends on gender consistency. It seems that only a very basic understanding of gender is necessary before children learn sex role stereotypes and measures of gender consistency tell us little about how 'sex-typed' children are. In addition, Kohlberg's theory has been criticised for ignoring the effects of social influences and conditioning, as well as ignoring external factors such as reward and punishment from parents that determine early gender role behaviour. Also, the theory describes the three stages, but doesn't explain why they occur. Kohlberg's theory is reductionist because it ignores psychological and social influences on gender development ...read more.

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