Peer Reinforcement and Punishment of Sex-typed Behaviors in Children

An analysis of research on sex-typed behavior in children from a behavior analytic perspective. Reviews a number of studies done on this subject and interprets them using behavior analytic concepts.

A number of studies on sex-typed behaviors in children are summarized and analyzed using concepts from the psychological perspective of behavior analysis. Specifically, peer reinforcement and punishment of sex-typed behaviors is examined. It is argued that peers are an important factor in the socialization of children into gender-specific roles and that most gender differences are not innate, but rather are formed through the mechanisms of reinforcement and punishment.
“The question of how children learn to behave in gender-specific ways is one for which many different explanations have been offered. There are evolutionary psychological, social-cognitive, and numerous other approaches. In this paper, I will address this issue from a behavior analytic perspective. By applying the principals of behaviorism, the processes by which children learn gender-appropriate behavior can be better understood. Specifically, I will investigate how peers reinforce and punish sex-typed behaviors in children, and how different behavior analytic concepts can help explain the results of some of the studies done in this field.”