Children (ages 4-8, N = 122) predicted who a hypothetical peer would choose as a partner in various situations. Social partner choices were between (a) same-sex and opposite-sex peers, (b) friends and new peers, and (c) same-sex new peers and opposite-sex friends. Children, especially girls and younger children, favored samegender over friendship status as a criterion for social partner choices. Children's predictions and explanations showed systematic patterns, but gender explanations were relatively rare. Consistency patterns across conditions suggest that when gender and friendship information are in conflict, children rely more on friendship status than gender in their reasoning processes. Gender appears prominent in social reasoning throughout the early elementary school years, but friendship status moderates gender influence in certain situations.
Halle, Tamara G.
"Implicit Theories of Social Interactions:
Children's Reasoning About the Relative Importance
of Gender and Friendship in Social Partner Choices,"
Merrill-Palmer Quarterly: Vol. 45
, Article 6.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/mpq/vol45/iss3/6