Cognitive Approaches to Gender Development
So far, we have described theoretical approaches to gender development that focus on causal factors from either biology (chapter 6) or the external social environment (chapter 7). The fi nal chapter in this part of the book describes approaches that focus on causal factors that reside in the child’s own cognitive characteristics. As with most divisions in psychology and elsewhere, the boundaries dividing theories into these three chapters are not sharp ones. In particular, there are theories discussed in the current chapter that still give the environment a very heavy role, and thus they could legitimately have been covered in the prior chapter. Still, all the theories we cover here are theories in which cognitive characteristics of children-their interests, their knowledge, their beliefs, their abilities to reason logically, and so on-hold a particularly important role in the way that gender development is said to progress.