Gender differences in the cooperative, competitive, and individualistic social values of children

George P. Knight, Chia Chen Chao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

Development descriptive research has often been summarized as indicating that girls more often value cooperative resource distributions and less often value competitive resource distributions than boys. However, there is considerable inconsistency in these findings that may be the result of measurement difficulties. The first study examined the gender differences using a measure designed to assess cooperative, competitive, and individualistic social values among 3- to 12-year-old children more adequately. The results indicated that (1), the girls less often prefered relative resource distributions (i.e., more often preferred individualistic resource distributions) compared to the boys, but (2) when children preferred relative resource distributions, girls most frequently preferred cooperative resource distributions (i.e., equality), while boys most frequently preferred competitive resource distributions (superiority). The second study examined whether gender differences in these social values exist prior to the age of 6 and simply were not fully demonstrated among the young children in the first study because of the cognitive demands of the task. The results revealed gender differences similar to those observed among the older children in the first study, when young children completed a modified form of the task that reduced the cognitive demands of the task. The compatibility with other findings and the implications for gender difference research on other behaviors are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)125-141
Number of pages17
JournalMotivation and Emotion
Volume13
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology

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