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Gender - Psychology A2

Overview of the topic Gender in A2 Psychology. (Information from revision notes and text books)

Sarah Jane

on 24 March 2014

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Transcript of Gender - Psychology A2

Biological influences on Gender...
Gender refers to being either masculine or feminine in relation to your behaviour & traits. Sex is biological and is determined by genes & hormones, Gender on the other hand is psychological and is determined by cultural aspects.
Biological aspect to Gender...
Chromosomes contain information from both parents, and these are found in DNA. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes, just one chromosome determines your gender. (F=XX M= XY)
Chromosome combinations determine the levels of male & female hormones that the foetus is subjected to. Hormones effect the development of the reproductive organs and the brain.
Up until 6 weeks after conception, male & female embryos look the same. Both embryos have gonodal ridges which eventually will develop into reproductive organs. The Y chromosomes will trigger the release of the H-Y antigen, which will then cause the gonodal ridges to develop testes.
AIS - Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome...
Androgens are hormones, like for example testosterone, and in rare cases the XY foetus doesn't respond to the effect of the male hormone exsposure within the womb,
Biosocial Approach to Gender...
Male and female brains are different in size, shape and fuction...
According to Geschwind & Galaburda (1987), these differences are the result of the levels of testosterone that the developing brain is subjected to, thus resulting in masculine or feminine brains.
Hoog (2008) identified that there are lots of differences between male & female brains; girls are better at empathising but less capable in terms of social awareness like boys are.
This explains why patients with gender dysphoria 'feel' more of one gender than the other.
Animal studies have helped provide evidence to support the effects of testosterone on prenatal development.
Quadagno et al. (1976) found that female monkeys that were deliberately exposed to testosterone in the womb were more aggressive than those who weren't exposed to testosterone in the womb.
However, there is one very controversial study which wanted to test the theory that NURTURE was more important than NATURE in gender determination...
Reimer study - Money & Ehrhardt
In 1965, Janet Reimer gave birth to a two twin boys, one called Brian, and the other called Bruce. When the boys turned 7 months old, they went for a routine circumcision, however the equipment malfunctioned, and burnt Bruce's entire penis off. His parents did not know what to do, and it wasn't until they saw a documentary showing Dr. Money talking about sex change surgery that they knew what to do. They contacted him and asked for his help, he responded quickly as he wasn't justn their answer to their prayers, they were also the answers to his as well.

The twins allowed Doctor John Money to test out his theory; that NURTURE was more important in gender determination than NATURE, and that socialisation helped as well. He would have Bruce raised as a girl and his twin brother be the control factor as he shared the same womb space as Bruce and he be raised as a boy. Bruce was changed to Brenda, and he/she was castrated and had a rudimentary vulva constructed when he/she was 18 months old to help impliment his/her gender reassignment. All was going well, she was given girls toys to play with such as doll houses, dolls, kitchen set, her mum put on make up & baked with her, they did their nails, basically all the general mother-daughter activities any other girl would do with her mother. Janet wrote to Doctor Money of their progress and it wasn't until Brenda turned 5 years old, that Money wrote about the success of his theory in his book adn reffered tp Brenda as John/Joan. However, while Money was writing about his success, things weren't going so well back in Canada. Brenda had started to play with boys toys, and acting in a particularly masculine way. She liked running around, climbing and loathed dolls, she felt lonely and had no friends as her brother felt embarrassed to play with her infront of his other friends. It was at this point that she started to hate going to see Dr. Money.

Doctor Money saw that she was becoming masculine and had to come up with a way to persuade her that she was a girl and show her the differences between girls & boys. He constantly talked to her about the difference in male and female genitalia, took photos of her & her brother naked, He even tried to persuade her to have a vagina constructed, this, at the time, would have been made out of section of her bowel or else from the skin of her thigh, and would then be inserted into the pelvic region. When she was seven years old. he showed her graphic pictures of a woman giving birth, in an attempt to get her to agree to have a 'birth hole'' constructed. He then suggested for her to take hormone tablets, so that when she was twelve she would grow breasts. Some scientists (including some of his ex-students) argue that Money was doing these things with the best possible interests for his patient in mind - to make her believe that she was indeed a girl. Brenda however felt traumatised and became suicidal.

Finally, when she was thirteen, her parents, after hearing her say that she would kill herself if she had to see Money again, decided to tell her the truth, that she was actually a boy, Brenda felt relieved, she wasn't going insane, she was so relieved that she turned back into a boy, renamed herself David. David received compensation for his botched circumcision, and used the money to pay for surgery to have a penis constructed. He met Jayne Fontaine in his early twenties, she had three children of her own which was good as he couldn't have children of his own as he was castrated. they married and they were happy. However, David's relationship with Brian worsened, Brian felt that throughout his childhood, because David was a girl, he got all the attention and Brian got nothing, and when he found out that Brenda was actually a boy and that he wasn't the only boy in the family, he was angry. He then later developed mental issues which would develop into Schizophrenia. After two failed marriages, he died, an overdose of drugs, this could have been a suicide attempt. David was also having issues. Because he didn't finish school, he had to get skilled based work, however he was made redundant, he was unemployed for a year, he sold the movie rights, but lost the money when a business man absconded with the investment. Stricken with grief because of his brother, his marriage fell apart. Jayne asked for a seperation period, but David took this very badly. On May 4th 2004, David drove to a supermarket carpark, placed the shotgun to his head, and shot himself.

This experiment/study shows that gender is determined through NATURE not NURTURE. No matter how feminine or masculine a male or female is, they will still be the gender they were born as. This is because men and women have different brains, hormones, characteristics ect.
Even though David Reimer was castrated, he was still exposed to testorsterone in the womb as he shared the same womb space as his twin brother, his brain would also produce some testosterone once he hit puberty. so even if he had a vagina constructed it wouldn't have changed his chances of becoming a male at puberty.
How do children learn gender appropriate behvaiour?
How do children aquire the concept of gender?
Bandura (1963) suggested that the Social Learning Theory explains how children aquire the concept of gender:
Bandura (1991) also devised the Social Cognitive Theory...
Social Cognitive Theory combines the ideas of Social Learning Theory, cognitive development and the gender schema theory.

Gender appropriate behaviour is internalised as children develop cognitively. Reasoning and regulation of behaviour develops schemas.

Types of reinforcement:
Indirect (Vicarious) Reinforcement
Direct Reinforcement
Direct Tuition

Sources of social influence:
The biological approach cannot be ignored here, biological gender has to be identified as birth in order for appropriate gender behaviour to be learnt.
Biosocial Approach...
Biosocial aspect to gender:
Biosocial approach combines biological aspects as well as cultural and social aspects. Social aspects include cultural stereotypes, ecological and economical influences. Biological sex differences include size, strength, speed etc. Physical differences between men & women.
This would mean that gender is not consistent globally as different societies and cultures demand different gender characteristics and roles to take precedent in order for society to function efficiently. Gender is also determined by circumstance & situation.
Gender stereotypes also change over time, whereas biological gender is permenant.
Our society is generally considered to be patriarchal. The idea that men had a higher social status than women is purely socially constructed as this isn't the same in all cultures.
The concept that women are socially beneath men is linked to the idea that during child-rearing women are unable to carry out social tasks as effectively as men.
For this reason, society socialises boys and girls to accept different social roles in order to benefit society.
Men have a higher social status than women. Gendered division of labour is apparent across many cultures, it is the degree of the division that interests the biosocial psychologists.
Gendered division of labour is apparent across most cultures; it is the degree of the division that interests the biosocial psychologists.
Key Term:
Dimorphism - Physiology, anatomy, and behaviour differences between the sexes.
Ember (1978) discovered that in many tribal societies, many of the hunting and fishing duties allocated to men as they are physically stronger. However, many women are allocated foraging duties meaning that both men & women are responsible for 'food getting'.
Cross cultural studies show that gender divisions are universal, whether in western, industrial societies or tribal cultures. Gendered division of labour is categorised by men's physical abilities and women's reproductive function.
This is because women can't be away from children due to the rearing process. However, nowadays women are not so bound to breastfeeding their children anymore as other feeding methods are available.
The biosocial approach ignores the effect of pre-natal hormones on gender development.
Psychological Approach to Gender...
Sex Differences...
Buss et al (1992) conducted this experiment on 202 undergraduates in order to discover which situation was more distressing for men & women. He found that men get distressed over sexual infidelity than women, whereas women reported greater distress over emotional infidelity than men.


Investmentment theory...

Trivas (1973) -> Differences in jealousy can be traced to Parental Investment Theory.
Women have a greater level of P.I than men - child rearing.
Men more promiscuous as they have the choice to 'invest' in a child or not, have less to lose.
This is why women are 'particular' about choosing a mate.

Evalutation of the Evolutionary Approach...
Biosocial approach offers a better explanation to gender differences.
Evolutionary approach is the only universal theory that explains animal & human behaviour.
Biological forces come first?
Kohlberg's theory of gender consistency...
Kohlberg's theory focuses on children's thinking and how it changes as they get older. It suggests that cognitive changes occur with maturation and are, therefore universal. It also emphasises a stage approach to gender development - exact ages are not as important as the sequence of stages, which is key. Children are only able to acquire concepts of gender identity and gender roles once they reach a certain stage.

Stages of Kohlberg's Theory:
Gender Identity:

Gender Stability:
Gender Consistency:
2-3 years, child recognises that they are a boy/girl.
3-4 years, awareness that gender is fixed. Girls grow up to become women, boys grow up to become men, not constant over different situations.
4-7 years, child recognises that gender is constant and is not altered through engaging in conflicting gender activities (boys with long hair, girls who play football).
GCT is supported by other Psychologists such as Piaget and Slaby & Fray.
Research by Weinraub (1984) suggests once a child has identified gender, it is reflected in their play activity.
Development of gender is similar across different cultures.
Ages and stages too deterministic.
Sandra Bem (1989)
Bem discovered using the photograph test that children who could identify genitalia could also show gender consistency. However she argues this with her own theory that this merely proves that they are able to relate with the world around them moreso than demonstrating significant gender development.

Gender Schema Theory...

Martin & Halverson (1983) devised an alternative to Kohlberg's theory, they state that age in which children develop gender awareness is a lot younger than Kohlberg stated. They become aware of gender through SCHEMAS which help them to make sense of gender through gender behaviour which is socially appropriate.
et al.
(1995) suggested that children will conform to gender stereotypes when toys are labelled boy or girl toys.
Evolutionary Explanations to Gender...
Gender Roles...
What are gender roles?
The role of the female was child rearing, growing vegetables, making clothing and maintaining the shelter. The role of the male was to provide for the female and children, hunt, protect & be procreators.
This complimentary division of labour ensured success of homosapiens unlike our Neanderthal cousins.
Environment of Evolutionary Adaptation (EEA)
This is the environment to which a species is adapted and the set of selection pressures that operated at this time.
Choosing a mate...
Adaptive behaviour = reproductive success
Gender role behaviours relate to reproductive strategies.
Promiscuity ensures reproductive success.
Choices are based on attractiveness and provision.
Evolutionary psychologists such as Kuhn & Stirer (2006) state that the reason that Homosapiens survived is gendered division of labour.
Cognitive psychologists state that because women are better at EMPATHISING they are more suited to a child bearing role.
Men are much better at SYSTEMATISING which makes them better at hunting & building.
Baron Cohen (2002) calls this the E-S theory.
Taylor et al (2000) has also linked the ES theory to the Tend & Befriend stress response.
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