How Race and Gender Shape the Development of Social Prototypes in the United States

Ryan F. Lei, Rachel A. Leshin, Kelsey Moty, Emily Foster-Hanson, Marjorie Rhodes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The present studies examined how gender and race information shape children’s prototypes of various social categories. Children (N = 543; Mage = 5.81, range = 2.75–10.62; 281 girls, 262 boys; 193 White, 114 Asian, 71 Black, 50 Hispanic, 39 Multiracial, 7 Middle-Eastern, 69 race unreported) most often chose White people as prototypical of boys and men—a pattern that increased with age. For female gender categories, children most often selected a White girl as prototypical of girls, but an Asian woman as prototypical of women. For superordinate social categories (person and kid), children chose members of their own gender as most representative. Overall, the findings reveal how cultural ideologies and children’s own group memberships interact to shape the development of social prototypes across childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1956-1971
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: General
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2022


  • Gender
  • Intersectionality
  • Prototypes
  • Race
  • Representation
  • United States
  • Humans
  • Child, Preschool
  • Male
  • Whites
  • Gender Identity
  • Female
  • Racial Groups
  • Child
  • Asians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'How Race and Gender Shape the Development of Social Prototypes in the United States'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this