- The primary purpose of this study was to replicate a study of
Abel and Sahinkaya which investigated the emergence of race and sex
preferences of upper middle socioeconomic status Caucasian
children. This study provided a good match with respect to socioeconomic
status, race, and sex; however, the number of subjects
in the replication group was lower than in the Abel and Sahikaya
study. In addition to the Abel and Sahinkaya comparison, the study
was extended to examine preference of lower socioeconomic status
Caucasian children and lower socioeconomic status Negro children.
In addition to the data provided for the replication comparisons
three hypotheses were tested: Hypothesis I: The incidence of race
preference in preschool children will not differ significantly from chance expectation; Hypothesis II: The incidence of sex preference
in preschool children will not differ significantly from chance
expectation; Hypothesis III: For preschool children no significant
difference will exist in the incidence of racial or sexual preference.
Each hypothesis was considered with respect to age, sex, socioeconomic
status, and race of the subject.
A Picture Preference Test designed to replicate as closely as
possible the one used by Abel and Sahinkaya was used to collect
data on race and sex preferences. The test included 16 black and
white smiling facial photographs, 3 1/2" x 5", of children 3.5 to 5.5
years of age. Sixteen photographs were paired to make 32 pairs in
which race was controlled and sex varied and 32 pairs in which sex
was controlled and race varied.
The statistical analysis included comparison of average group
choices with a hypothetical average of 16 by means of the t-test.
Results of the analysis indicated that the replication did not
support the Abel and Sahinkaya study in all respects, particularly
since no incidence of race preference was found in either the younger
or older children, and sex preference emergence was later in the
present study than the Abel study. The earlier study found that boys
showed both race and sex preference and this study found neither.
Both studies found sex preference by girls. In the extension test
results of Hypothesis I showed only white lower status male had race preference while Hypothesis II test results showed the girls from
every group, upper white, lower white, and lower Negro, showed
preference for their same sex as did the older upper and lower white
children and the younger lower status Negro children. The test
results of Hypothesis III showed sex choices were stronger than race
choices in all three groups for girls and for the younger children of
both sexes in the Negro group. The socioeconomic comparisons,
Group I with Group II, indicated that only the boys in the lower socioeconomic
status group evidenced a race preference. With regard to
sex preference the older children and the girls in both Group I and
Group II showed a significant difference. The race comparison,
Group II and Group III, revealed that only white boys showed race
preference, Negro children did not. In race choice Negro and white
younger children, older children, and girls showed no race preference.
Sex preferences were observed for both Negro and white
girls, but not for Negro or white boys. In addition younger Negro
children showed sex preference, but the findings regarding sex
preference were reversed for the older groups; white children
showed a sex preference, but Negro children did not.
In general the replication attempt produced some conflicting
results, however, the difference in sample size probably precludes
the direct comparison. In addition data for this study were collected
in the Northwest, and other literature in this area suggests geographic differences may play a role in the emergence and
intensity of race and sex preference.