By Jack Crowe
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is spending $138,000 to gain a deeper understanding of the “internal sense of gender identity” of 4-year-old children.
The federal grant, first reported by the Washington Free Beacon, was awarded to the University of Washington this summer to fund a two-year study based on interviews with 250 children, ages 4 to 6, and their parents.
“Prominent theories of gender development have discussed the degree to which gender identity results from an internal sense of gender and socialization processes,” the grant reads. “However, tests of these theories have been limited because, for most children, internal gender identity and environmental socialization substantially overlap, rendering it impossible to distinguish the relative impact of each factor on gender development.”
Congress created the NSF in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense.” The federal agency receives roughly 40,000 applications annually, of which 11,000 receive grants.
Researchers will utilize the federal money to assess the validity of certain gender theories, using a range of questions addressing various aspects of a child’s life, including what toys they play with.
“The project will involve asking 250, 4- to 6-year olds and their parents to complete a battery of measures assessing early and current gender socialization, children’s internal sense of gender identity, children’s gendered behavior (e.g., preferences for gender-typed toys) and measures of related gender cognition (e.g., memory for gender-consistent vs. inconsistent behaviors),” the grant states. “These measures will allow the researchers to examine the relative contributions of internal gender identity and socialization and ultimately provide a more comprehensive theory accounting for early gender development.”
The study, which will conclude in June 2019, is led by Kristina Olson and Selin Gülgöz, both of whom are involved with the “TransYouthProject,” which “aims to help scientists, educators, parents, and children better understand the varieties of human gender development.”
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