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Main assumptions of gender schema theory (3)

- Developed by Martin and Halverson
- A child's thinking is the basis of gender role as Kohlberg's theory stated however Martin and Halverson believe gender identity occurs around two or three years of age.
- The gender schema theory suggests that children actively seek out information about appropriate behaviour for their own group. So look to the environment to develop their schemas.

Outline the importance of schemas in this theory (3)

- Schemas play a main role in gender development from a young age of 3.
- Schemas are defined as a mental framework representing information on social situations, our self and other people these are based on past experiences which become more complex as we grow.
- Children start out with a simple schema which works as in-groups and out-groups.

Outline GST stages (3)

1. Stage one suggests that children learn what things are associated with each sex and categorized such as toys and activities. For example girls play with dolls.
2. In stage two this develops as the child is now able to make links between different components of the schema this skill then allows them to predict other things about them. However they can only make these links with their own sex.
3. In the last stage, stage three the child can now link components for both sexes.

Outline supports of this theory (4)

1. Campbell et al (2000) looked and development by looking at visual preference. They found by nine months old boys looked at boys toys more than girl's toys. This shows that they were paying attention much earlier than Kohlberg thought and supports the age range of the Gender schema theory.
2. The gender schema theory explains the reasons children are more likely to model behaviour that is seen to be appropriate for their gender rather than automatically copying a same sex model.
3. Durkin also supported this model saying that it was 'currently the most influential approach to understanding gender'.
4.Explains why sex roles become rigid because people pay attention to what confirms their schemas.

Criticisms of this theory (3)

1. However looking at these cognitive aspects could lead to the underestimation of the role of parents and culture influence in gender development.
2. Doesn't explain origin of schemas but does explain development meaning it doesn't give a full explanation.
3. Kohlberg's alternative theory

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