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SSA could not be possible without the generous support of Drs. Herbert A. and Betty Lou Lubs and the Science, Society, and the Arts Research Conference Endowment. We are deeply grateful!
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Friday, March 17 • 3:00pm - 4:15pm
Easel 41: How Superhero Stories Impact Preschoolers’ Play with Female and Male Action Figures

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According to social cognitive theory of gender development, children learn gendered behaviors by modeling those in their environment which includes the media. Girls have fewer role models in the media than boys, particularly those showing instrumental or agentic behaviors. The present study analyzed how the gender of superhero characters in a story impacts the way preschoolers play with action figures of both genders. One story was read to each child with either female or male superhero main characters. The children were then shown a town play set, heard three scenarios in which townspeople were in peril, and were given four action figures to complete the story. It was predicted that children would play with female action figures more and give them more superhero traits after hearing the female superhero story. This project has been approved by the Washington and Lee IRB and data from 25 participants has already been collected.


Friday March 17, 2017 3:00pm - 4:15pm
Leyburn Library

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