Children's propensity for interacting with peersof their own gender is a robust phenomenon, evidentacross many contexts. This study investigated howchildren's gender-based peer preferences varied as a function of a contextual variable —type of children's game. Using naturalisticobservations, 242 first- to third-graders (identicalnumbers of boys and girls, mostly White andmiddle-class) were observed playing two games that varied in theirphysicality and competitiveness; games were structuredto have equal numbers of boys and girls available asplaymates. As predicted, boys and girls interactedsignificantly more with same-sex than other-sex peers. Ourprediction of a game-type effect was partiallysupported: in the more competitive and physical game,boys chose same-sex playmates significantly more oftenthan in the less competitive/physical game, butgirls' same-sex peer preference did not vary across thegames. The findings provide further support for thenecessity of investigating social context as aninfluence on children's own-sex favoritism.
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Boyatzis, C.J., Mallis, M. & Leon, I. Effects of Game Type on Children's Gender-Based Peer Preferences: A Naturalistic Observational Study. Sex Roles 40, 93–105 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1018882417926
- Observational Study
- Social Psychology
- Social Context
- Naturalistic Observational
- Game Type