Previous research has indicated that children display gender-typed musical instrument preferences. Two studies were conducted to determine (a) whether these preferences can be modified by presenting counter-examples (i.e., instruments played by gender-inappropriate musicians) and (b) whether child gender or age (kindergarten vs. 4th grade) influences the efficacy of such interventions. A videotape presentation format was employed in Study 1 and drawings in Study 2. Children exposed to counter-examples were less stereotyped than those who saw the instruments without musicians (Study 1) or with gender-appropriate musicians (Studies 1 & 2). Age did not influence children's responsiveness to the counter-examples, but boys were more resistant to the intervention than girls. There was some evidence that the counter-examples were effective not simply because children were attracted to same-sex musicians. Instead, children's instrument choices also appeared to be motivated by a desire to avoid behaving like musicians of the other-sex. Potential strategies for increasing children's responsiveness to instrument counter-examples (e.g., multiple exemplars; portrayal of positive consequences) were also discussed.
- musical instruments