Sex Roles

, Volume 51, Issue 7–8, pp 371–386 | Cite as

The Variability and Flexibility of Gender-Typed Toy Play: A Close Look at Children's Behavioral Responses to Counterstereotypic Models

  • Vanessa A. GreenEmail author
  • Rebecca Bigler
  • Di Catherwood


Gender differences in play behavior are well documented. However, little work has examined the issue of variability of gender-typed behaviors within individuals or within genders. We investigated whether children's gender-typed toy play behavior is (a) variable across time within individuals, and (b) variable in response to exposure to counterstereotypic models. Extensive observations (N=203) were made of 8 highly gender-typed preschool children over 4 months. Variability was assessed by examining changes in the percentage of masculine and feminine toy play across successive days in which (a) gender neutral stories were read (within-individual variability) and (b) gender counterstereotypic stories were introduced (environmental variability). Variability of gender-typed play within individuals and in response to environmental stimuli was found among girls, but not among boys.

play gender differences intervention 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vanessa A. Green
    • 1
    Email author
  • Rebecca Bigler
    • 1
  • Di Catherwood
    • 2
  1. 1.University of Texas at AustinAustin
  2. 2.University of GloucestershireCheltenhamUnited Kingdom

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