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Cramer, P. (1975). The Development of Play and Fantasy in Boys and Girls: Empirical Studies. Psychoanal. Contemp. Sci., 4(1):529-567.

(1975). Psychoanalysis and Contemporary Science, 4(1):529-567

The Development of Play and Fantasy in Boys and Girls: Empirical Studies

Phebe Cramer, Ph.D.

Play and Fantasy

The present paper reports a series of investigations of children's play and fantasy which focus on the child's unconscious feelings of sexual identity as these are derived from feelings about his own body and expressed in play. This approach to the study of the development of sexual identity stands in marked contrast to methods which ask about the child's conscious preference for sex-typed toys or games. The latter approach typically uses either semiprojective tests, such as the IT scale (Brown, 1957), or observations and ratings of play activities (e.g., Borowitz, Costello, and Hirsch, 1972). While the results of these preference studies are interesting and informative, they seem to tell us primarily about the extent to which the child has learned his social group's expectations about what boys and girls should like. In this sense, they may be considered measures of sex-role adoption, or sex-role preference (see Lynn, 1959).

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