The National Science Foundation is spending over $130,000 on a study that asks four-year-olds about their "internal sense of gender identity."
A grant for a two-year study was awarded to the University of Washington this summer. The project will interview 250 children aged four to six, and their parents, asking a series of questions about "gendered behavior."
"Prominent theories of gender development have discussed the degree to which gender identity results from an internal sense of gender and socialization processes," according to the grant. "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."
The study will investigate whether gender theories, such as Gender Schema Theory that blames society on differences between genders, are sufficient for today's "wider range of human gender experiences," where there can be anywhere between 3, 37, and 58 genders.