Klinger, L. J., Hamilton, J. A., & Cantrell, P. J. (2001). Children’s perceptions of aggressive and gender-specific content in toy commercials. Social Behavior and Personality, 29 (1), 11-20.

Abstract:  Examined children’s perception of aggressive content, stereotypic sex-role behavior, and appropriateness of television toy commercials and imagined play with these toys. 103 elementary school children (aged 9-11 yrs) rated videotapes of toy commercials or slides of toys on perceived aggressiveness, stereotypic sex-role behavior, gender-based appropriateness and imagined play with the toys depicted. The results indicated that girls rated imagined play with boy-toys as being more aggressive than did boys, and boys rated girl-toys more appropriate for girls than did girls. All commercials were rated as demonstrating stereotypic sex-role behavior. Male-focused commercials and imagined toy play with the boy-toys depicted were rated more aggressive than were female-focused and neutral commercials, and their respective toys. At the same time, boy-toys were rated by both girls and boys as more desirable than girl-toys. The authors suggest that boys are particular targets of aggressive content in marketing and are more desensitized to aggressive content than are girls. Though girls perceived more aggressiveness than did boys, the aggressive toys remained highly desirable. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2004 APA, all rights reserved)