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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


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.