Preadolescents' categorization of gender and ethnicity at the subgroup level in memory


Correspondence should be addressed to Joshua Susskind, Department of Psychology, 0505, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA 50614-0505, USA (e-mail:


The statement matching paradigm was used to examine how 10- to 13-year-olds categorized adults when both ethnicity and gender varied across targets. Forty-seven children watched a PowerPoint presentation of a conversation involving two Black men, two Black women, two White men and two White women. Each slide displayed the speaker's picture, name and the statement made. The children then were asked to determine who made each statement. The pattern of errors in their assignments was examined to assess how they spontaneously categorized the adults. More within-ethnicity within-gender errors (e.g. assigning a statement made by a White woman to the other White woman) were made than any other type of error. This implies that the targets were categorized at the subgroup level. In contrast to findings for adults, the children did not also categorize at the more global level of gender above and beyond the subgroup categorization.