Social learning theory regards gender identity and role as a set of
behaviors that are learned from the environment. The main way that gender behaviors are learned is through the process of observational learning. Children observe the people around them behaving in various ways, some of which relate to gender. They pay attention to some of these people (models) and encode their behavior. At a later time they may imitate the behavior they have observed. They may do this regardless of whether the behavior is ‘gender appropriate’ or not but there are a number of processes that make it more likely that a child will reproduce the behavior that its society deems appropriate for its sex.