The Department of Psychology welcomes Dr. Megan Fulcher who will present the third lecture in its 2018-19 lecture series, Psychology of Work and Play:
"Working at Play: How Play Impacts Children’s Visions of their Future Selves"
When children play, alone or with one another, they learn roles, build skills, and create visions of their future selves. When play is gendered, these roles, skills, and visions may become constrained. Play can be constrained by the types of toys available to boys versus to girls and by cultural messages about the appropriateness of toys for boys versus for girls. By preschool, children report an understanding of occupational and family role gender stereotypes. According to the Social Cognitive Theory of Gender Development (Bussey & Bandura, 1999), children’s observations of models’ behaviors affect their self-efficacy for future roles. It may be that children use toys, particularly dolls, as models. Dolls that promote gendered play may limit children’s vision of future selves to gendered roles. Gender-amplified dolls present a narrow view of what men and women look like and what they do, affecting children’s ideas of future selves.
Dr. Megan Fulcher is an associate professor of Psychology at Washington and Lee University. She received her PhD at the University of Virginia in 2004. Her research interests include the social and emotional development of children, children’s gender-role acquisition and understanding, individual differences in children’s gender-role flexibility, and development in the context of traditional and non-traditional families. She oversees the Gender Psych lab and all of its research projects; Currently, she is working on two projects that examine how children's ideas about gender impact their ideas about their future work and family roles.