Describe and evaluate one or more cognitive development theories (CDT) of gender identity

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Daniel Talbot 6524

Describe and evaluate one or more cognitive development theories (CDT) of gender identity 

Cognitive development theory explains how gender identity develops first and then children pay attention to same sex role models; in comparison to the social learning theory, which in this suggests that children acquire the gender role first and then later develop an understanding of gender identity. The CDT is a theory that has age related critical stages where the maturation combines with the child’s interaction with the environment so they can move through the stages.

Kohlberg’s theory was based on the work of Piaget. He suggested there are 3 main stages to gender identity which were: gender identity, where the child can identify their sex but not aware that it is fixed and cannot change it. (2 – 3.5 years old) gender stability, where the child is aware that their gender is fixed but are largely determined by such things like characteristics e.g. clothes and hairstyles. (3.5 – 4.5 years old) and gender constancy where the child is aware their gender is an unchanging quality.  (4.5 to roughly 7).

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Research that can support this theory was done by Slaby and Frey, where they showed children pictures of boys and girls. The responses were appropriate to Kolhbergs theory and thus supporting CDT.

This study has proved to be reliable as it has been similarly repeated and the same results were found.

However the criticisms of this are said to be that the interview had an element of interviewer bias as he was asking leading questions.

Also the pictures shown lack ecological value as there were not realistic to real life.

Damon too, studied gender appropriate behaviour. He asked ...

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