DO PARENTS DIFFER IN THEIR SCAFFOLDING OF PRESCHOOL SONS AND DAUGHTERS DURING A SPATIAL ACTIVITY?
Spatial ability is important to cognitive functioning and academic outcomes. However, many studies report a male advantage in spatial task performance which has been attributed to biological factors as well as environmental factors, such as play experience that is spatial. In the present study, we examine how parents of preschool-aged children interact with daughters versus sons, examining if parent scaffolding during a structured spatial task differs with child sex. Participants were 45 (25 girls, 20 boys) 4- and 5- year-olds (M = 4.82, SD = 0.42) and their parent. Parent-child dyads were invited to create a pattern using magnets of different shapes and sizes. Parents provided more guidance to younger children. The result yielded a significant effect of child sex on iconic parents’ gestures, but not any other parent behaviors. Parents, whether interacting with a son or daughter, actively guided their children using pedagogical questions, spatial language, gestures, and correction.
Scaffolding; Sex Difference; Spatial Ability; Developmental psychology; Guided Play
M.A., Human Development
Master of Arts
dissertation or thesis