Early presence of a “power = males” association: Girls link power to their gender less often than boys but can be as motivated to gain it

Bolivar Reyes Jaquez, Melissa A. Koenig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In three studies, it was tested whether children (N = 184; aged 6–10 years, White, mid- to high income) from a U.S. midwestern city used other individuals’ gender and race to predict who is in charge and the means by which power is gained (Study 1) and whether children's own gender predicted their assignments of positions of authority (Study 2A) and pursuits of positions of authority (Study 2B). When asked to predict who was in charge at different workplaces, with age White children decreased their race-based, power-related favoritism; children were increasingly likely with age to link White adults to rather questionable routes to power as well as Black adults with meritorious reasons for gaining power (Study 1). In addition, boys (but not girls) systematically associated power with adult workers of their own gender and did so regardless of whether or not power had been obtained meritoriously (Study 1). Nonetheless, when given the option to assign an authority role (Study 2A) or assume an authority role (Study 2B), boys and girls exhibited comparable levels of in-group and self-biases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number105419
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume220
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was made possible thanks to generous funding from the University of Minnesota's President Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded to B.R.J.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Causal reasoning
  • Inequality
  • Intergroup cognition
  • Social dominance
  • Social power
  • Stereotyping and prejudice

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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