The Effect of Children's Clothing on College Students' Reaction Time


Jessica Nardi

Date of Award


Degree Type

Archival Copy

First Advisor

Dawn Vreven


Analyzing attitudes toward gender typical and gender atypical clothing is an essential element toward breaking down gender stereotypes. This research measures the implicit and explicit attitudes toward children’s clothing, specifically gender typical and gender atypical clothing. The current study utilized an IAT (implicit association test) computer task that tested participants on their perception of gender typical and gender atypical clothes for young children. To test hypotheses, analyses were conducted using self-reported data from a survey using the Perceived Acceptance Scale (PAS), a sample of the Sex-Role Egalitarian Scale (SRES) and demographics. Data were also collected from the computer task that recorded the reaction time it took a participant to respond to seeing a picture of a child in either gender typical or gender atypical clothing after viewing positive or negative words and needing to press a key on the keyboard to categorize it. The sample consisted of 30 participants from Framingham State University in Massachusetts. A three-factor within-subjects ANOVA test was conducted on the reaction time data. It was found that the two-way interaction of word type and clothing was significant. Specifically, categorizing positive words with gender typical clothing was faster than categorizing positive words with gender atypical clothing. Prior research suggests that college students are more accepting of one’s choice to wear whatever they’d like no matter their gender. However, the current results show that college students showed an implicit bias toward pictures of children in gender atypical clothing.

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