Gender Peers

This investigation was adapted from the Fagot (1985) investigation where teachers and two-year-old children were studied to discover whether there were differences in the way teachers reinforced behaviour in boys and girls, and the effects of peer group reinforcement. The study predominantly a new investigation, but some ideas were taken from the Fagot study. The aim of this study is to find out if gender has an effect on the way peers reinforce members of their gender. The hypothesis of this study is “Females will reinforce other females verbally whilst males will reinforce each other physically”.

The investigation was carried out in the form of an observational study in a college recreation room. The participants were selected using Opportunity Sampling as the researcher used anyone that was in the room for a sufficient amount of time to gather enough information, were suitable to take part, and were members of the target population. The target population were students aged 16 – 19, attending a sixth form college in London. The results showed a distinctive difference in the way the two genders reinforced each other.

The results showed that on average males used one of the physical types of reinforcement more than twice as much as the females. Smiling was the modal type of reinforcement for both genders. The median type of reinforcement was tutting and verbal encouragement for males and hugging and verbal encouragement for females. There was one anomalous result amongst the results. This was that the females used one of the types of physical reinforcements more than the males; this was hugging. The reason for this can be explained as hugging is stereotyped as feminine so males are less likely to use this type of reinforcement.

The conclusion drawn from the results were that there is a relationship between the two variables and so supporting the hypothesis “Females will reinforce other females verbally whilst males will reinforce other males physically”. Introduction When you reinforce someone you are encouraging him / her to do the behaviour in which you reinforced him / her for doing. Negatively you are discouraging them so they do not repeat the behaviour. Reinforcement takes on two roles. It can come in an external or internal form and also can be positive or negative in each role.

External reinforcement is when someone wants to get approval from peers, parents or/and authoritarian figures. Internal reinforcement is when someone gives themselves approval. Positive and negative reinforcement can have little or no effect on a person if the reinforcement doesn’t match with the individuals’ specific needs. Reinforcement and the ways in which we are reinforced is dependant upon many factors. From the study the researcher wishes to determine if gender affects the way we reinforce each other. Fagot looked at peer group reinforcement amongst two year olds in her experiment.

She concluded that from a very early age, children are reinforced for gender-appropriate behaviour, but whether the child responds to reinforcement will differ between males and females. The aim of this study came about as the researcher wondered if the reinforcement seen in the Fagot study would be similar to that of males and females of an older age in an educational environment. Although this study has a distinctive difference to the Fagot study the basic idea of reinforcement and gender appropriate behaviour are still similar. Hypothesis

Females will reinforce other females verbally whilst males will reinforce other males physically. This is a one tailed hypothesis because it predicts the nature of the effect of the independent variable (gender) on the dependant variable (type of reinforcement used). Null Hypothesis There is no relationship between gender and types of reinforcement. Method The researcher observed 16 – 19 year old college students attending a 6th form college in London. She noted the way in which females would reinforce other females and also the way in which males would reinforce each other.

She then compared these two observations to see if there was any difference between the two genders. Reinforcement was defined as physical E. G. hugging, and verbal praise and criticism E. G. verbal encouragement. Design An observational study was chosen for this study because the researcher wanted to study natural occurring behaviour in a natural setting. An observational study is when a researcher observes a certain behaviour in the setting in which this behaviour naturally occurs. An example of this is crowd behaviour by watching people at a concert.

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