Recent, Ongoing, and Planned Research Projects
Own-Sex Favoritism and Trust
Do boys and girls show more trust in members of their own sex than in members of the other sex? Is such bias related to other ways in which children show own-sex favoritism (e.g., rating same-sex people higher on “liking” and on positive traits and lower on negative traits than other-sex people)?
Sex Differences in Own-Sex Favoritism
Girls often display more bias favoring their own sex than do boys. Is this because of status differences between the sexes? Because we are measuring bias in a way that best captures how girls show favoritism? Because girls are paying more attention to gender than are boys? Because boys are more concerned with conforming to gender stereotypes than girls, and so are willing to assign negative characteristics to their own sex, as long as they’re “masculine” (e.g., loud, crude)?
Gender Attitudes and the Transition to Adolescence
As children enter adolescence, do they feel more pressure to adhere to gender roles? Do adolescents react particularly negatively when someone else violates a gender role? Do such reactions depend on the type of violation (e.g., displaying a trait vs. engaging in an activity or occupation vs. having a “look” that is usually associated with the other sex)?
Socialization of Leadership Behaviors in Boys and Girls
Do adults react differently when boys vs. girls display leadership behaviors? Does it matter whether the particular style of leadership displayed is one that conforms to traditionally “masculine” vs. “feminine” gender roles?
Asymmetry in Reactions to Male vs. Female Gender-Role Violations
Why is it considered worse to be a “sissy” than a “tomboy”? In particular, does the fact that masculine characteristics are typically considered to be of higher status than feminine characteristics explain why males receive more negative reactions for violating gender roles than do females? Alternatively, are feminine males more likely to be perceived as being homosexual than are masculine females, with the resulting sexual prejudice contributing to the elevated negativity directed toward those feminine males?
Physical or Appearance-Related Gender Stereotypes
Most existing gender stereotype measures focus on “masculine” and “feminine” personality traits, activities, and occupations. Can we develop a new measure that captures appearance-related gender stereotypes (e.g., hair style, clothing, body type)?
Gender-Role Violations and Bullying
Do teachers treat name-calling among children less seriously when it is motivated by gender-role violations vs. other norm violations?
Gender Stereotypes and Sexual Orientation
Do stereotypes about gay men and lesbians portray them as being like members of the other sex, with gay men seen as high feminine/low masculine and lesbians seen as high masculine/low feminine?
Is prejudice toward gay men and lesbians the result of negative reactions to homosexuality, negative reactions to perceived or actual gender-role violations (i.e., femininity in gay men, masculinity in lesbians), or both?
Ethnic-Based Bias and Identity Exploration
Extending research on intergroup processes beyond the domain of gender, this line of research explores how factors that may draw positive or negative attention to ethnicity (e.g., cultural diversity activities, teasing, or discrimination) may impact ethnic-based in-group favoritism, self-esteem, and identity exploration in children and adolescents.
Crossed-Categorization and Inter-group Bias
Given that children are simultaneously members of multiple social categories (e.g., ones based on gender or race), to what extent do explicit attitudes about and more subtle behaviors or intentions toward individuals vary depending on whether those individual are in-group vs. out-group members with respect to each of those multiple social categories?