Jimmy’s Baby Doll and Jenny’s Truck: Young Children’s Reasoning About Gender Norms



This article is corrected by:

  1. Errata: Errata Volume 83, Issue 4, 1462–1463, Article first published online: 13 July 2012

concerning this article should be addressed to Clare Conry-Murray, Department of Psychology, Penn State University, Beaver, 100 University Drive, 3K RAB, Monaca, PA 15061. Electronic mail may be sent to cec23@psu.edu.


To assess the flexibility of reasoning about gender, children ages 4, 6, and 8 years (= 72) were interviewed about gender norms when different domains were highlighted. The majority of participants at all ages judged a reversal of gender norms in a different cultural context to be acceptable. They also judged gender norms as a matter of personal choice and they negatively evaluated a rule enforcing gender norms in schools. Older children were more likely to show flexibility than younger children. Justifications obtained from 6- and 8-year-olds showed that they considered adherence to gender norms a matter of personal choice and they viewed the rule enforcing gender norms as unfair.