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Social Learning Theory (SLT) suggests that children learn through observation and imitation of role models, plus direct or vicarious reinforcement. Smith & Lloyd (1978) invented the Baby X method, where the same infant is labelled ‘boy’ or ‘girl’ in two different conditions. If adults think the baby is a boy, they engage in more physical play and offer male-typical toys. Culp et al (1983) found that adults were more likely to sing and talk to a baby labelled ‘girl’ rather than ‘boy’. Archer & Lloyd (2002) replicated the original Baby X study and found that adults still behave in the same way.BBC Research (2017) replicated Baby X and found the same outcome is still true today.Fagot (1978) observed children around the age of two playing at home with their parents. She recorded the reinforcements (e.g. praise) and punishments (e.g. told off) the children received from their parents. She found that boys were praised for playing with gender appropriate toys and punished for playing with dolls, while girls were praised for staying close to the parent and punished for rough and tumble play.A classic study by Smith and Lloyd (1978) which involved 4-6 Month old babies who were dressed half the time in boys closed and the other half in girls clothes. When observed interacting with adults, babies assumed to be boys and were given boy type toys such as hammer shaped rattles and were encouraged to be adventurous. When the same children were dressed as girls they were given cuddly toys and were told frequently that they were pretty. This suggests that gender behaviour is relevant at an early age and provides additional evidence. Critics have argued that social learning processes change with age. For example motor reproduction as mediational processes suggest that children may struggle to perform behaviours if they are not physically or mentally capable. Social Learning theory places very little emphasis on the influence of genes and chromosomes and only considers the role of the environment in gender development. After reviewing the case of David Reminer is was made clear that it was not possible to raise a biological male as a female and override chromosomal in influence. Modern researches are more likely to accept the biosocial theory of gender.One of the earliest cross-cultural of gender roles was carried out by Mead (1935) of tribal groups in New Guinea. There were 3 main groups : The Arapesh were gentle and responsive, The Mundugumor were aggressive and hostile and finally the Tchambuli women were dominant and organised and the men were passive. This suggests that there may not be a clear and direct relationship between sex and gender and the gender roles that are used today may be determined through culture. Mead’s research was criticised for not separating her own opinions from her description of the life of the tribal groups, this meant that the study has observer bias. Another researcher called Freeman (1983) was very critical of Mead’s work and conclusions, so much so that he conducted a follow up study, he argued that the study was flawed and she had mislead by some of her participants and preconceptions of her study in general could of influenced her results.

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