Contextual variation in stereotype content: An investigation of children's central tendency and group variability judgments

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    Abstract

    Drawing upon self-categorization theory, we predicted that the content of children's stereotypes concerning the gender ingroup would be contextually variable. Two studies are reported, each looking at five-, seven-, and 10-year-old children's stereotypes of the gender in-group in two different contexts. Study 1 examined judgements of the perceived central tendency of the in-group on specified dimensions. Study 2 addressed judgements of perceived variability within the gender in-group on the same dimensions. Overall multivariate analysis of the data indicated that central tendency judgements were influenced by the context in which a group is considered, but that group variability judgements were not. Individual-level analyses showed that the most typical pattern of response over the two conditions, in both Studies 1 and 2, was for children to provide consistent rather than varying judgements. However, in Study 1 (but not Study 2), among those children who changed their judgements, the nature of change was precisely as predicted by self-categorization theory.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)693-708
    Number of pages16
    JournalSocial Development
    Volume15
    Issue number4
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006

    Keywords

    • Stereotypes
    • Self-categorization theory
    • comparative context

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