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The aim of the study to see whether the results found by Condry and Condry (1976) into the perceived sex differences of children can be applied to today's society.

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Introduction

[ss1] THE EFFECTS OF THE PERCEIVED SEX OF A CHILD ON THE PERCEIVED EMOTIONAL RESPONSE Sarah-Elizabeth Stanton 003 1048 2 01G Module 102 Abstract Background There are sex differences or stereotypes that adults will attribute to a child's behaviour. Previous research into adult's perception to the behaviour of children has found evidence to support this claim Aim The aim of the study to see whether the results found by Condry and Condry (1976) into the perceived sex differences of children can be applied to today's society. Method 65 undergraduate psychology students were shown a video type of a child dressed in gender-neutral clothes. They were asked to rate the responsiveness of the child in relation to it being given four toys to play with. However half of the participants were told the child was a male and half were told it was a female. A sample of 10 participants from each condition was used to create the results. Results The results show that adults perceive differences in children due to the sex of the child. However the standard deviation for females was higher than for males. ...read more.

Middle

Method Participants 65 undergraduate psychology students were used in the experiment. The participants were found in a psychology lab class, thus it was an opportunity sample. A sample of 10 participants was taken from each of the experimental conditions. Apparatus / materials A video was shown of an eight-month-old baby wearing gender neutral clothes. It was shown on a large screen using a projector. The baby was given four different toys to play with. These were a teddy bear, a doll, a snapping face toy and a noisy singing dog. Each toy was presented to the baby five times. The Participants were given a responsiveness ratings sheet and a set of instructions. (See appendix C). The responsiveness ratings sheet either said that the baby was a female called Louise or a male called Mathew. Design A random sample of participants was used in this experiment. An independent measures design was used to eliminate demand characteristics. The independent variable was the perceived sex of the baby and the dependant variable was the perceived emotional responsiveness of the baby. These were controlled by the participants being shown the same baby wearing the same gender-neutral clothes and marking their ratings on the same scales. ...read more.

Conclusion

into perceived emotional differences of boy and girls. However it contrasts with Condry and Ross (1985) as they found that people who see two children fighting and perceive them both to be female, saw them as more aggressive than when they believed it to be two boys. The main implication of this research is that adults will react differently to male and female children due to underlying ideas about sex. This means that gender differences may be created by the parents and not an in built feature of the child. Also that by simply manipulating the sex of child, a host of male and female stereotypes were unearthed. There is much future research that could be done into sex differences. However a cross-cultural study would be of benefit. It would be interesting to find out whether non - western countries such as china or the Middle East attribute the same sex differences to the behaviour of children. So in conclusion the results came out as expected. It supported the hypothesis by illustrating a cause and effect relationship between perceived sex of the child and the perceived emotion the child. It is clear that sex differences are an inherent part of Western culture as there is an underlying mechanism that allows a child's behaviour to be interpreted differently depending according to their sex. ...read more.

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