Gender, task scenarios and children's computer-based problem solving

Karen Littleton, Paul Light, Richard Joiner, David Messer, Peter Barnes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (SciVal)


Gender differences in response to computers have been widely reported. This paper addresses the question of how far superficial aspects of the software in use can affect the performance of girls and boys on computer-based problem-solving tasks. A 1st study compared girls' and boys' performance on 2 versions of a route-planning task which differed in terms of the scenario within which the task was framed. The participants were 52 11- and 12-yr-olds. There was a significant gender by software interaction, the girls' performance being markedly influenced by which version of the software they encountered. Following refinement of the software to tighten the comparison still further, a replication study was conducted with another 48 children of similar age, and the same result was obtained. The findings suggest that gender differences in children's responses to computers are relatively labile and highly context sensitive. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2007 APA, all rights reserved).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-340
Number of pages14
JournalEducational Psychology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998


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