A new methodology, an old story? Gender differences in the “'draw-a-computer-user test”

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Abstract

Gender differences in computer-related attitudes have been reported in school children of all ages. Females express more negative attitudes than males when asked to explicitly endorse attitude statements. This gender difference may be compounded by females expressing attitudes consistent with their psychological gender. This study uses an art-based methodology to assess the computer-related attitudes of 395 primary school children (aged 5 to 11). A significant difference occurs in the gender drawn by the children. Whilst 30% of females draw males, only 4% of males draw females. Additionally, older females draw proportionally less smiling faces. These results are consistent with more traditional assessments of attitude which indicate that females’ attitudes towards computers become more negative as they progress through the educational system. The art-based methodology also identified similar proportions of females holding negative attitudes as do more traditional assessments, suggesting ecological validity for the gender differences in computer attitudes. The implications for computer-related education are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-385
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
Volume14
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1999

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