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Infant engagement with gender-typed objects: adult influences on gender preference and behavior

Haertter, Jolie M (2024) Infant engagement with gender-typed objects: adult influences on gender preference and behavior. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Gendered preferences and behaviors during adult-child play can influence future child gendered preferences and behavior. This study examines how cultural gender norms affect the preferences and behaviors of infants aged 16, 18, and 24- months. Study 1 includes 55 parent-infant (27 female infants) dyads. The sample comprises two sub-groups including (1) 22 infants (8 girls, 14 boys) participating at both 18- and 24- months of age and (2) 33 infants (19 girls, 14 boys) participating only at 16- months of age. Parent-infant dyads were visited at home or virtually and naturalistic free-play sessions were recorded for further assessment. Study 2 included 21 college-aged students (15 female, 13 white) and one 15-month-old female child. All participants were recorded in a 10-minute session with a 14-16 month old, gender-ambiguous child. The results indicate that while infants tend to play 12 with toys typically associated with their gender, boys, particularly at 16 months, still show interest in toys traditionally considered feminine, such as dolls. By 16 months, infants already exhibit behaviors typically associated with their gender, including gentle and rough play. The preference for certain toys among boys is heavily influenced by parental preferences, particularly in encouraging the selection of traditionally masculine toys. However, adult preferences seem to have less impact, likely due to the brief nature of the interactions observed. Overall, this research sheds light on various aspects of gendered behaviors and preferences during infancy, highlighting the significant role of familial and societal factors. The future directions consider diverse family structures and include participants from underrepresented communities to ensure broader applicability of the findings.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Haertter, Jolie Mjmh308@pitt.edu0009-0004-4179-9565
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorLibertus,
Committee ChairIverson, Jana
Committee ChairCiccocioppo,
Committee ChairCousins,
Date: 25 April 2024
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 1 April 2024
Approval Date: 25 April 2024
Submission Date: 19 April 2024
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 52
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: David C. Frederick Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: behaviors, gender, infant-parent, preferences
Date Deposited: 25 Apr 2024 12:46
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2024 12:46

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  • Infant engagement with gender-typed objects: adult influences on gender preference and behavior. (deposited 25 Apr 2024 12:46) [Currently Displayed]


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