Sex Roles

, Volume 52, Issue 5, pp 393–398

Gender-biased Perceptions of Preschoolers’ Behavior: How Much Is Aggression and Prosocial Behavior in the Eye of the Beholder?

  • Jamie M. Ostrov
  • Nicki R. Crick
  • Caroline F. Keating

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-005-2681-6

Cite this article as:
Ostrov, J.M., Crick, N.R. & Keating, C.F. Sex Roles (2005) 52: 393. doi:10.1007/s11199-005-2681-6


In this study we investigated the perceptions of male and female college students (N = 208) who evaluated preschoolers’ actual aggressive and prosocial behavior, which was obtained from naturalistic observations and presented as detailed transcripts. Findings revealed that men were not as accurate as women were in identifying relational aggression and prosocial behavior. Coders were generally similar in their identification of physical and verbal aggression. This study suggests that gender biases and stereotypes exist in the evaluation of relational aggression and prosocial behavior, which included assessments of relational inclusion. Researchers must take precautionary steps to investigate and ameliorate the gender biases of potential informants, which, if not addressed, may lead to errors in a myriad of standard methodological instruments (e.g., observations, teacher reports, and survey designs) currently used by psychologists and relationship scholars.


gender biasaggressionprosocial behaviorpreschool children

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jamie M. Ostrov
    • 1
    • 4
  • Nicki R. Crick
    • 2
  • Caroline F. Keating
    • 3
  1. 1.University at Buffalo, The State University of New YorkBuffalo
  2. 2.University of Minnesota, Twin Cities Campus
  3. 3.Colgate UniversityHamilton, New York
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyUniversity at Buffalo, The State University of New YorkBuffalo, New York