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Cognitive Theories of Gender Development

Cognitive theories of gender development seek to identify the information processes underlying people’s understanding of gender and people’s gender-related beliefs and actions. Most cognitive theories of gender development are complementary and constructivist in nature. That is, they are similar to one another and see people as playing an active role in organizing the information encountered in everyday life. Cognitive theories recognize that information processing is most effective when completed quickly but that efficient decision making can be less accurate and stereotypical. However, each theory places different emphasis on the steps involved in information processing about gender and the influence of outside factors such as social interactions, environment, and biology. This entry explains the primary cognitive theories of gender development and further considers how outside factors ...

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