Influence of gender constancy and social power on sex-linked modeling

Kay Bussey*, Albert Bandura

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

227 Citations (Scopus)


In cognitive-developmental theory, gender constancy is considered a necessary prerequisite for the emulation of same-sex models, whereas according to social learning theory, sex-role development is promoted through a vast system of social influences with modeling serving as a major conveyor of sex role information. The present 2 experiments, with 68 29-70 mo old children, tested these predictions. In accord with social learning theory, even Ss at a lower level of gender conception emulated same-sex models in preference to opposite-sex ones in Exp I. Level of gender constancy was associated with higher emulation of both male and female models rather than operating as a selective determinant of modeling. This finding corroborates modeling as a basic mechanism in the sex-typing process. Exp II explored the limits of same-sex modeling by pitting social power against the force of collective modeling of different patterns of behavior by male and female models. Social power over activities and rewarding resources produced cross-sex modeling in boys but not girls. This unexpected pattern of cross-sex modeling is explained by the differential sex-typing pressures that exist for boys and girls and socialization experiences that heighten the attractiveness of social power for boys. (34 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1292-1302
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1984


  • level of gender constancy vs social power of model groups, same- vs opposite-sex modeling, 29-70 mo olds


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of gender constancy and social power on sex-linked modeling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this