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Gender, Relationships, Intelligence and learning

Amanda Lane

on 5 December 2013

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Transcript of PSYA3 REVISION lesson 1

Topics in Psychology
Intelligence & Learning

•Social influences on gender
•Cultural influences
1) Psychological gender
2) Biological gender
3) Social gender
•Cognitive development theory (Kohlberg)
•Gender schema theory
•Hormones and genes
•Evolutionary explanations
•Biosocial – gender dysphoria
Psychological gender
gender identity
gender stability
gender constancy
Child recognises that they are a boy or girl
Awareness that gender is fixed (stable). Girls grow up to become women and boys men, but is not constant over different situations
Child recognises that gender is constant, and is not altered through engaging in conflicting gender activities (boys with long hair, girls who play football)
Evaluation of Gender constancy theory:
GCT is supported by other Psychologists such as Piaget and Slaby & Fray.
Research by Weinraub (1984) suggests that once a child has acquired gender identity they reflect this in their play activities
The development of gender is similar across all cultures.
Ages and stages are to deterministic
Sandra Bem (1989)
Bem discovered using the photograph test that children that could identify genitalia could also show gender constancy. However, Bem also argues (with her own theory!) that this merely proves that children are able to relate with the world around them more so than demonstrate significant gender development.
(The cognitive approach)
Gender Schema Theory
Martin & Halverson (1983) proposed an alternative to Kohlberg's theory insomuch that they state that the age in which children develop gender awareness is a lot younger. Children become aware of gender through SCHEMAS which help them to make sense of gender through socially appropriate gender behaviour.
Martin et al (1995) suggests that children will conform to gender stereotypes when toys are labelled either boy or girl toys.
Girls are easier to influence with cross-gender behaviour than boys (Fagot 1985)
Girls schemas are more flexible than boys
Gender schemas could be present earlier. Bauer (1993) suggest as as early as 25 months.
The role of genes and hormones
The Biological approach
The role of genes and hormones are essential for the development of genitalia
AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) - Batista family (No external male genitalia despite being biologically male. Brought up as female but changed back to male during puberty when genitalia appeared.
Geschwind & Galaburda (1987) - Male and female brains due to the effects of testosterone on the developing brain.
Money & Ehrhardt (1972) - Bruce (Brenda) Reimer challenges the nature v's nurture argument of gender development.
Quadagno et al (1977) Female monkey's deliberately exposed to testosterone in the womb were more boisterous and aggressive that other female monkeys.
Evaluation of the biological approach
Reductionist and deterministic - doesn't take into account wider social context and the complexities of social culture.
Sensitive topic of research - ethics
Ethics concerning animal research
Cultural gender differences change over time.
Real world application
The Evolutionary Approach
Men and women have evolved to be different in terms of natural selection and survival of the fittest.
Neanderthals died out due to the fact that there were no differences in terms of gender roles.
Differences between sexes are known as SEXUAL DIMORPHISM and are determined successful sexual selection (mate choice)
Modern day gender roles are based upon evolutionary differences such as the E-S theory (Empathising & Systematising) and the fight or flight, tend & befriend stress responses.
Baron-Cohen (2002) - The E-S theory based on hunting strategies and mate choice
Taylor et al (2000) suggest that stress responses are related to situations presented in the EEA (Environment of Evolutionary adaptiveness, 5 million years ago)
Wynforth & Dunbar (1995) - Lonely hearts columns relate to natural selection traits
Baron-Cohen (2004) devised the systematising quotient questionnaire to show that men and women think differently (E-S theory)
Buss et al (1992) - Sex differences in Jealousy
Trivers (1973) Parent investment theory - qualities that are sort after by both men and women to ensure the sucess of raising healthy offspring.
Cannot research evolutionary processes as they are ongoing
Relationship between biological sex and gender role determinism is unclear
Evolutionary perspective is the only complete theory that explains human and animal behaviour.
Ignore social implications
The biosocial approach to gender
Combines the ideas of biological sex and cultural differences of gender behaviour
Social Role theory - PHYSICAL differences between men and women determine differences between gender role behaviour and NOT psychological differences as defined by the evolutionary approach.
Hormones play a part in determining physical differences between men and women
Ember (1978) - Food foraging societies. 50% of societies allocated women to this role whereas hunting and fishing communities on 1% of women contributed
Murdoch & White (1969) - studied non-industrial societies and concluded that similarities that arise across cultures in terms of gender role activities are due to biological factors whereas differences depend on cultural variations.
Cross cultural research is supportive of the approach.
Does not account for the role of hormones in pre-natal development.
Social gender
Bandura (1963) - Social learning theory. Reinforced learning and observational learning
Socialisation through family, school, media and peers
Reinforcing social stereotypes
Some aspects of gender behaviour are more easily influenced than others
Difficult to research
Disregards biological influences on gender related behaviour
Cross cultural studies
Looks at the how studies into cultural differences and similarities shape our understanding of the nature nurture debate.
Mead (1935) sex temperament in 3 primitive societies showing that behaviour is influenced by the cultural conditions
Whiting and Whiting (1975) 6 cultures study shows that despite sex, people are able to adapt to different situations
Medicine (1997) - One tribe 3 genders
Similarities in gender role behaviour are biologically determined if present across many cultures.
Demand characteristics in participant observation
Difficult to interpret interviews (translation errors) and understand social contexts.
Gender Dysphoria
Gender dysphoria is considered a gender identity disorder whereby a person feels that their anatomy conflicts with their gender identity
According to Freud, difficulty in establishing gender identity stems from an incomplete resolution of the Oedipal/Electra conflict during the phallic stage. It can also arise from an attachment to an inappropriate role model.
Dysphoria and Freud
Cognitive approaches theorise that gender identity is constructed through developmental stages from the age of 3. During adolesence, stages of development are consolidated and gender identity is established.
Behaviourists favour the imprinting and conditioning theory. An attachment bond is formed during the 'critical period' and once imprinting has been successful, conditioning occurs through observational learning.
Biological explanations for gender dysphoria
Brain sex theory
Real world application
Difficult to determine whether dysphoria is the result of nature or nurture
The role of hormones on the size of the BSTc in determining gender

• Reward/need

• Social exchange theory

• Sexual selection & human reproductive behaviour

• Parental investment

• Childhood

• Culture
1) Formation, breakdown and maintenance.
2) Evolutionary
3) Early experience
Formation of romantic relationships
Theories that try to explain why we enter into romantic relationships:
The reward/need satisfaction model
The matching hypothesis

Operant conditioning = Behaviour that is followed by desirable consequences is more likely to be repeated.
Classical conditioning = Learning an association between two events. A neutral stimulus that creates a conditioned response (initially and unconditioned response).
Relationships are REWARDING!
The Matching Hypothesis
Murstein (1972) hypothesised that people are attracted to others of similar attractiveness.
According to Murstein (1972) our initial attraction to another person stems from 'social desirability'. Not only do we rate others attractiveness but we also rate our own.
People compensate for a lack of physical attractiveness with other social desirable such as wealth, status, personality etc.
Maintenance of romantic relationships depends on 2 theories:
Social exchange theory
(Thibaut and Kelley 1959)
Investment model
(Rusbult 1983)
These are generally referred to as 'economic theories' as they look at social relationships using a monetary analogy such as cost/benefit comparisons.
Social behaviour is looked upon as a series of exchanges whereby people want to maximise rewards and minimise costs. The exchange aspect of the theory identifies that people who receive rewards are obligated to reciprocate.
However (Walster 1978) claimed that strive for fairness not maximise costs and profits. People who contribute to a relationship and receive little in return would feel an 'inequity' which causes distress in a relationship. This is known as 'Equity Theory'
Little ecological validity
Lacks empirical evidence
Gender differences
The Investment model (Rusbult 1983)
Investment theory is the idea that commitment is linked to the likelihood that a relationship will last. Rusbult (1983) identified that levels of commitment are affected by 3 factors:
Quality of alternatives
Relationship maintenance
Just like the social exchange theory, satisfaction is the outcome a relationship. These are then compared to certain standards we have about what we expect from a relationship (comparison level).
If the outcomes surpass the comparison levels then the relationship is satisfying. Similarly if the expectation falls short the relationship is not satisfying.
Quality of alternatives
If an individual perceives that an attractive alternative to their current situation exists then they will start move away from their current relationships. If no such alternative exists then an individual will persist with their present relationship due to a lack of other alternatives. No relationship is considered an attractive alternative!
The level of investment relates to the amount contributed to the stability of a relationship. Investment is anything that a person puts in that can be lost if it broke down.
Evaluation of the investment model
Research supports the model (see Le & Ahnew 2003).
Equity Theory
Equity theory assumes that people in romantic relationships strive for fairness. It is the inequity within a relationship that causes distress.
People who contribute to a relationship but get little in return would perceive the relationship to be inequitable resulting in dissatisfaction for both parties.
It is important to note that equity is not equality... equity refers to balance and stability and can be defined differently by different people
People try to maximise rewards and minimise negative experiences within a relationship.
Distribution of rewards is negotiated to ensure fairness through favours and privileges.
The rate of dissatisfaction is equal to the degree of unfairness.
As long as the 'loser' in the relationship is motivated to save the relationship equity will be re-established
Walster et al suggested 4 principles to the equity theory
Evaluation of Equity theory
Lacks ecological validity insomuch that it assumes that people are only happy if the relationship is fair.
Clark and Mills (1979) identified that there are 2 types of couples: 'communal' and 'exchange'. They identified that only the exchange couple are fixated on equity whereas the communal couple will be more relaxed on how this is achieved.
Men and women view relationships differently: Men are more likely to focus on EQUITY where as women are more likely to focus on EQUALITY. Women are more likely to consider having an affair if the relationship is deemed inequitable.
Prins et al (1993) interviewed male and female married partners and found that females are more likely to report having an affair than males as a result of perceived in equity in a relationship.
Relationship breakdown
Rollie & Duck (2006) devised a process of relationship breakdown by denoting 'phases' that people pass through.
Intrapsychic processes
Dyadic processes
Social processes
Grave-dressing process
Resurrection process
One partner becomes increasingly dissatisfied to the point that progress is made to the next level
Focusing on partners faults and how little satisfaction is being gained from the relationship. Withdrawal from social interaction through depression.
Partners talk to each other about inequity in the relationship. The relationship will be saved if issues are talked about constructively (problem solving) rather than destructively (scapegoating). Reasons for staying or leaving the relationship will be discussed. Promises of change or agreements maybe aired.
The breakup is made public. Advice and support is sort from friends and family and alliances are created. This process includes criticising the other partner and scapegoating.
Social Processes
So-called because as a relationship dies, we must create an account of how it came into being, what it was like and how it died. Just as in the same way we create an inscription on a gravestone. Post-relationship lives become organised and publicised accounts of the relationship breakdown begin to circulate. 'Stories' about what happened are told which may be changed for the benefit of different audiences
Grave dressing
This final process addresses the need to move on to the next relationship. People must recreate a sense of social worth and defining what they need from the next relationship and what in turn needs to be avoided.
Evaluation of Rollie and Duck
Gender differences
The role of the 'instigator'
Hetrosexual bias
Evolutionary explanations to relationship breakdown
Costs related to emotional investment - women like men with resources, however this assumes that men are willing to share!
Increasing commitment - because women value emotional commitment so highly men use this to their advantage!Infidelity - access to females outside of relationship which keeps options open!
Reputational damage - Damaging someones reputation will reduce their chances of finding another mate!
Sexual Selection Theory
One of the key assumptions of SST is that men are attracted to women who are fertile and healthy. Another key aspect is that women need to be 'in OESTRUS' (ovulating and the ability to become pregnant)
Miller et al. (2007)
Compared the earnings of lap dancers who were menstruating naturally with those who were menstruating on the pill. The pill prevents oestrus as you cannot become pregnant.
During non-fertile periods of their menstrual cycle, both sets of women were earning the same amount of money. However, the women who were not on the pill, earned twice as much as those on the pill when they entered their fertile period
Mate Choice
Mate choice is the product of preferences from the EEA (environment of evolutionary adaptiveness). Humans are naturally picky when it comes to mate selection as we want the best possible combination of genes for our offspring.
Mental characteristics
Facial preferences
Clark & Hatfield (1989) conducted a casual sex experiment to see if there were sex differences in the frequency it was carried out!
Casual sex
Testicle size in relation to the promiscuity of the female of the species
Evaluation of sexual selection theory
In terms of reproductive behaviour, SST states that we have sexual preferences but who we actually end up with in a long-term relationship maybe someone totally different!
Attractiveness may not be the result of social convention but more of an evolved behaviour.
Women's perception of attractiveness changes depending on the position within her menstrual cycle
People choose partners on more than just looks!
Parent investment theory
Trivers (1972) identified that 'an investment by the parent in an individual offspring that increases its chance of survival at the cost of the ability to invest in other offspring'.
A females level of investment is far greater than a male as their eggs are only available during certain times of the month and can only have a limited amount of offspring.
Males can (potentially!) have an infinite number of offspring as their sperm is greater in quantity and occurs more frequently!
Maternal investment
Females will invest more time and effort into rearing children than men. Why? Because female know that they are the mother of that child.... men cannot be certain!
Paternal investment
Males can 'opt out' of parental investment in a way that females cannot. Males expend a lot of energy in courtship and mating ritual so can afford to 'step back' in the parenting
The idea that men are vulnerable to use up their 'resources' raising children who are not their own
According to Anderson et al (1999) despite knowing that a child is not his, a male may invest in a stepchild to ensure a possibility of further offspring from the mother of the child by showing he is a good provider.
Childhood experiences
Bowlby (1982)
Individuals develop an internal working model of the self in relation to the primary attachment figure which is usually the mother.
Early childhood experiences also dictate how disappointment and emotional discomfort are handled as early attachment styles are reflected in adult relationships (secure & insecure)
They found that people who were securely attached as a child tended to have happy, long lasting relationships. On the other hand, insecure types found adult relationships more difficult, were more likely to become divorced and felt that true love was rare.
Hazan & Shaver (1987)
Feeney et al (1994)
Found that security of attachment transferred to a greater level of interpersonal interaction and relationship satisfaction!
Feeney also concluded that anxiety caused by attachment issues is the leading cause of destructive behaviour within relationships. The more anxious you are in a relationship, the less satisfied you are.
Interactions with peers
We learn self worth through popularity, how well we get on with others as well as expected behaviour in regards to a close friendships such as trust, confiding and understanding.
Adolescent relationships with adults
Adolescents are aware of other relationships in terms of differences and similarities as apposed to children who typically view their own parent-child relationship. Secure adolescent-parent relationships allows people to have the confidence to explore relationships outside the family ie: with other adolescents.
Social Learning theory
Adolescents will observe levels of intimacy from their parents by observing how they relate to one another.
Cultural differences in relationships
Voluntary and non-voluntary relationships. Epstein (2002) states that arranged marriages have low divorce rates and over half 'fall in love'
Individual or group based relationships
Norms and values
What is Intelligence?
“The ability to learn from experience, think in abstract terms, and deal effectively with one’s environment”.
Smith et al (2003)
The ‘Psychometric’ Approach
The design and use of intelligence tests.
Intelligence Quotient
IQ =
Mental age higher than chronological age would determine a score above 100Mental age below the chronological age would determine a score below 100
Mental age / chronological age
The Simon – Binet test of intelligence
Thurstone (1924) argued that we have 7 separate and multiple intelligences, known as Primary Mental Abilities
The Information-Processing Approach
The nature of the cognitive processes that underpin intelligence. Sternberg (1985) developed the Triarchic Theory of Intelligence.
Contextual subtheory – the context in which intelligent behaviour takes place.
Experimental subtheory – the role of experience, novelty and automaticity in problem solving. (Familiarity)
Componential subtheory – the underlying cognitive processes of intelligence.
Componential Subtheory
Metacomponents – planning, controlling and evaluating a task. High order processes. Eg: Hypothesis forming or running a simulation.
Performance Components – Actual mental processes involved in practical tasks such as fixing things, assembling flat pack furniture.
Knowledge-acquisition - components that encode information in memory that allow us to combine and compare information.
Savants Syndrome
Savant Syndrome: People with savant syndrome typically score poorly on intelligence tests, but have specific talent or skill for which they are exceptional. For example, someone who may be of limited intelligence may be a remarkable painter or musician. Another example may be someone who is barely able to speak correctly but is a mathematical genius.
Behaviourist Learning Theory
Animal intelligence & learning
Classical Conditioning (Pavlovian Conditioning) = learning to associate two events (cause and effect), such as stimulus that triggers a response.
Thorndike’s Puzzle Box
Through trial and error the cat would eventually learn to open the box to get to the food
Operant conditioning involves learning from the consequences of behavior.
Edward Thorndike put forward a “Law of effect” which stated that any behavior that is followed by pleasant consequences is likely to be repeated, and any behavior followed by unpleasant consequences is likely to be stopped.
Positive reinforcement = Behaviour is encouraged to be repeated because it ‘adds’ a pleasant and welcomed reaction.
Negative reinforcement = Behaviour is encouraged to be repeated because it ‘takes away’ an unpleasant and unwelcomed reaction.
Skinner introduced a new term into the Law of Effect - Reinforcement. Behaviour which is reinforced tends to be repeated (i.e. strengthened); behaviour which is not reinforced tends to die out-or be extinguished (i.e. weakened).
Skinner identified three types of responses or 'operant' that can follow behaviour.
Punishers: Response from the environment that decrease the likelihood of a behaviour being repeated. Punishment weakens behaviour.
Reinforcers: Responses from the environment that increase the probability of a behaviour being repeated. Reinforcers can be either positive or negative.
Neutral operants: responses from the environment that neither increase nor decrease the probability of a behaviour being repeated.
Angermeier (1984) devised an experiment to measure animal intelligence using a simple reward challenge
Theory of mind
(Woodruff & Premack 1979)
Theory of Mind (ToM) is a concept that shows ability to make inferences about another's intended actions, behaviours, thoughts and feelings. It is the ability to predict motivations and intentions, and make judgements based on these assumptions.
Machiavellian Intelligence.
Highly intelligent, social
animals have developed the ability to manipulate and
deceive others.
Demonstrates an awareness of the mental state of others. Richard Byrne (1994) studied the mating behaviour of gorillas. Subordinated males would ‘sneak off’ with fertile females that only the alpha male has access to.
Tactical Deception
Frans de Waal (1989) also
studied ‘sneaky’
copulations whereby
chimpanzees would inhibit
mating shrieks to disguise
the fact that they were
Also known as 'The Social intelligence hypothesis', suggests that the increase in brain size during evolution in primates has been driven by the need to work in groups and make sense of complex relationships. In other words, primate intelligence is an adapted response to the complexity of the social environment where primates evolved.
Theory of Machiavellian Intelligence
Machiavellian intelligence is described as the art of manipulation in which others are socially manipulated in a way that benefits the user.
Plontik et al (2006) suggests that animals such as elephants,dolphins, chimpanzees and killer whales are able to recognise themselves in a mirror using the mark test (rouge test)
Animals may have felt the mark on their skin
Lack of research support
Factors affecting intelligence
IQ is directly related to access of opportunities that are available. This access is regulated by socioeconomic status, your social position in accordance to wealth and class.
Turkheimer et al (2003) studied twins from both high and low socioeconomic backgrounds.
Poorest backgrounds explained variations in intelligence
Genes make up 50% or 0.5 of the variation of intelligence
Shared environment 0.1
Non-shared environment 0.4
Concludes that both genes and environment determine levels of intelligence.
New combinations of genes when reproduction occurs as we inherit half of each parents genes
Gene variability
Conditions for pre-natal development such as the diet of the mother, eg: alcohol consumption.
Cogenital defects such as Down's syndrome.
Genetic defects
IQ tests are largely composed by white, middle class, western males.
IQ test bias
IQ tests only measure a small proportion of what is considered intelligent behaviour (Gardner 1983)
IQ test reliability
Herrnstein and Murray (1994)
During an IQ test, the results showed that white Americans were statistically more intelligent than black African-Americans. It was suggested that this was due to genetic differences between the two races.
Even when tests are culturally fair, there was still a measurable difference. It can be suggested that ethnicity can effect educational opportunities and in turn problem solving abilities.
In Chinese and Taiwanese cultures, self knowledge, social awareness and appropriate conduct are considered signs of intelligence. Non-western cultures would not score highly on western designed IQ tests.
Theories of intelligence
• Psychometric theories, for example, Spearman, Cattell, Thurstone
• Information processing theories, for example, Sternberg, Gardner
Animal learning and intelligence
• Simple learning (classical and operant conditioning) and its role in the behaviour of non-human animals
• Intelligence in non-human animals, for example, self-recognition, social learning, Machiavellian intelligence
Human intelligence
• Evolutionary factors in the development of human intelligence, for example, ecological demands, social complexity, brain size
• Genetic and environmental factors associated with intelligence test performance, including the influence of culture
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