A cognitive developmental study of children's sex-role development
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University of Cape Town
The present study of the acquisition and development of the child's sex-typed behaviours and attitudes is pursued in the Piagetian cognitive developmental tradition. Qualitative changes in the child's perceptions of himself and his physical and social world are described as changes in mental structure. The cognitive structures are made up of categories of experience or schemas. The schemas are organizations of actions upon objects which possess the quality of mobility. Development of the cognitive structure is facilitated by old structures being continually fitted to new functions, and new structures evolving to fill old functions under changed circumstances. Through age and experience, schemas for hierarchical integrations of increasing differentiation moving from predominant use of lower to higher level operations. This study accounts for the qualitative changes in the child's gender self-concept with age development by investigating the changes in the structure of the child's cognitive schema. The cognitive developmental approach evidenced in the work of Piaget and Inhelder deals comprehensively with the acquisition and general stabilization of constancies in the physical world; the concepts of number, weight, mass, time, etc., only recently has it been proposed to account for the development of gender concepts (Kohlberg, 1966).
Includes bibliographical references.
Ventress, K. 1975. A cognitive developmental study of children's sex-role development. University of Cape Town.