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Title: Origins of gender identity
Author: Kujawski, Jacqueline Helen
ISNI:       0000 0001 3602 8054
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1984
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This thesis examines one particular aspect of the infant self-concept, namely gender identity. The main experimental paradigm is simultaneous presentation of films of boy and girl infants to other infants aged between 10 and 14 months. Prior research has indicated that, at this age, infants will fixate photographs and films of same-sex other infants longer than those of the opposite-sex. This effectively constitutes an identification of gender. Here, this is explored further by means of moving patch-light displays of infants. On presentation of boy and girl infants simultaneously it was found that, by one year, infants will again preferentially fixate those of the same-sex. It is suggested that this indicates the ability to recognize same-sex other infants from movement information alone. In addition, two groups of younger infants were presented with the same display. For both groups, no preferential fixation of same-sex emerged. As all of the infants in these experiments were pre-walking, it is argued that this provides further support for the contention that type of movement is included in the early self-concept. An analysis of infant movement was also performed. Some differences between boys and girls were noted, including arm-swing and stepping-patterns. Finally, a test of the efficacy of reinforcement in the ontogeny of differential movement was attempted. For this, films of young infants smiling were presented to mothers. It was found that perceived gender label appears to alter responses by mothers to the same infants. It is argued from this that differential reinforcement may be at least one factor in the ontogeny of differential movement in infants. The implications of the above are discussed within the broader context of the developing concept of self in infancy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Genetics