Biological Explanations of Gender

  • Created by: rhallett
  • Created on: 21-09-15 16:58
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  • Biological Explanations of Gender
    • Genes and Hormones
      • Evidence
        • Girls with high levels of test. in womb - CAH - more tombyish - 95% grow up to live happily as women
          • Unusual socialisation - abnormal genitals - can't generalise; so unusual - many grow out of it
        • Quandango - fem. monkeys exposed to test. prenatally - more aggressive
          • Monkeys are very dissimilar to humans - social influences have less of an affect
        • Swaab - Dutch research - 6 male to female trans. - area near hypothalamus called BST is smaller; more feminine
          • Small sample; hard to generalise - RPs would have been taken hormone therapy; could have affected brain
        • Bruce Reimer - penis destroyed, reared as girl, given fem. genitalia, named Brenda. Unhappy in fem adulthood, reverted back to male, self named David
          • Unusual situation; he had a twin - family trauma; late reassignment - only a case study; can't generalise - some cases of reassignment have been successful i.e. Brady
      • XY - Boy - Testosterone - testes - "male" traits - 'organising' effects - may do this by shaping the hypothalamus
      • ** - Girl - Oestrogen - ovaries - another surge of sex hormones during puberty
    • Evolution; Parental Investment Theory
      • Males - v little interest and physical effort - can produce many offspring - evolved not to be choosy - tend to be promiscuous and more competitive
      • Females - lots of effort - feed and carry child - can only have 1/year - evolved to be choosy to a mate with good genes to ensure survival of young
      • Evidence
        • Clark & Hatfield - approached students on uni campus - asked to have sex - 75% males said yes - 0% females said no
          • Could be a variety of reasons why the women said no: social sigma, fear of pregnancy, periods, fear of violence
        • Daly & Wilson - married men were more likely to want to have an affair than married women
          • Research was questionnaire based
        • Holloway - females are choosy thus males compete against each other and being physically large would help - men are 1.5x bigger than females
    • Mate Choice
      • Buss argued that males and females have evolved to be attracted to different things
        • Female carry and rear children; evolved to prefer older males who can provide resources and protection
        • Males prefer younger and attractive fertile females to cope with childbearing
        • Buss studied 37 cultures  - questionnaire - about mate preference - in 90% females valued earning potential and men valued physical attractivenes more than women
          • Differences could be due to culture or social factors - women often financially disadvantaged; could explain why key value was earnings
    • Toy Choice
      • Heins - animal research - male vervet monkeys preferred playing with male toys like trucks than they did female toys
        • Monkeys are very dissimilar to humans - social influences have less of an affect


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