Date of Award

Winter 12-18-2019

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department


Degree Name

Master of Arts (AM/MA)

Degree Type



By 6 years of age, children associate males with higher status than females (Liben, Bigler & Krogh, 2001), and Whites with higher status than Blacks (Bigler, Averhart & Liben, 2003). However, little is known about how race and gender interact to influence children’s thinking about status. In Study 1, we asked whether children associate White men with higher status than other races and genders. Sixty children selected from among Black and White male and female targets the person who they thought would do familiar and novel jobs that varied in status. White men were the most likely to be chosen for high status, familiar—but not novel—jobs. However, this depended on the exact job in question. In Study 2, we explored the influence of race [gender] on children’s thinking about the relation between gender [race] and status. Children (N = 197) matched groups of targets with high- and/or low-status jobs that were presented in 12 pairs of familiar and novel jobs. Race influenced the rate at which men were chosen over women for high status jobs. However, gender did not affect the rate at which Whites were chosen over Blacks for high-status jobs. Further, these results were found only among familiar jobs. Across two studies, we found evidence that children as young as 5 do consider the joint effect of race and gender on status. Children this age, however, may weigh race more heavily than gender and do not necessarily generalize this information to jobs they do not know.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Lori Markson

Committee Members

Calvin Lai, Clara Wilkins


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