Gender constancy and the effects of sex-typed televised toy commercials.

D. N. Ruble, T. Balaban, J. Cooper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


The present study represented a cognitive-developmental analysis of the effects of televised, sex-stereotypic information on children's behavior and attitudes toward toy play. The subjects were 50 male and 50 female 4-6-year-olds divided into high and low gender-constancy levels. As the children watched a cartoon, they either saw a commercial of a gender-neutral toy that showed 2 boys or 2 girls playing with the toy, or they saw no commercial (control). As predicted, only the high gender-constant children were differentially affected by the sex-role information in the different commercial conditions. Children at this stage who saw opposite-sex children playing with the toy avoided spending time with the toy and stated verbally that the toy was more appropriate for an opposite-sex sibling, relative to children in the 2 other conditions. The results are discussed in terms of their implications for theories of sex-role development and in terms of the role that television may play in maintaining sex stereotypes and sex-typed behavior.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-673
Number of pages7
JournalChild development
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1981

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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