Expertise in unexpected places: Children’s acceptance of information from gender counter-stereotypical experts

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Janet J. Boseovski, Associate Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: The current study examined children’s willingness to accept novel information from expert informants with nontraditional gender role interests. Four- to 8-year-olds heard conflicting information about traditionally feminine or masculine domains from a gender counter-stereotypical expert (e.g., a boy with expertise in ballet) and a layperson of the other gender (e.g., a girl with little knowledge about ballet). Participants were asked which informant was correct, who they would prefer to learn from in the future, and to rate their liking of each informant. Overall, participants selected the gender counter-stereotypical expert as correct. Four- to 5-year-olds reported a preference to learn from same-gender participants in the future irrespective of expertise, whereas 6- to 8-year-olds reported wanting to learn from counter-stereotypical experts. Boys showed relatively greater acceptance of information from a male counter-stereotypical expert than from a female counter-stereotypical expert. Although participants reported greater liking of same-gender informants, liking evaluations were largely positive irrespective of gender norm deviations. Implications for children’s acceptance of gender nonconforming activities are discussed.

Additional Information

Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 141, 161-176
Language: English
Date: 2016
Selective social learning, Social cognition, Young children, Perceptions of expertise, Gender stereotypes, Informants, Information seeking

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