Gender Development

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  • Gender Development
    • Sex
      • Biological term. The sex of a person can be determined at birth by factors like chromosomes and hormones
    • Gender
      • Psychological term. Ideas about expected attitudes +  behaviour of males/females. Can be identified by the way they act, speak and dress
    • Psychodynamic Theory
      • we have thoughts and feelings that we are not aware of - unconscious
      • development happens in five stages
      • phallic stage between age 3 + 5
        • child unconsciously sexually desires opposite-sex parent + jealous of same sex parent
        • to deal with feelings - child behaves like same sex parent - known as Identification
      • Oedipus Complex
        • boy unconsciously attracted to mother + jealous of father
        • becomes anxious father will castrate him after finding out his feelings
        • torn between feelings - gives up feeling for mother + identifies with father to resolves situation
        • adopts a masculine gender
      • Electra Complex
        • girl unconsciously attracted to father + jealous of mother
        • worried mother will find out
        • believes she's already been castrated so not as fearful as boy
        • torn between feelings and losing mother's love
        • to resolve - gives up feelings for father and identifies with mother
      • Little Hans
        • father wrote to Freud about child's phobia of horses
        • claimed he was experiencing Oedipus Complex
        • displaced fear of father onto horses
        • supports Freud's ideas about phallic stage
      • Evaluation
        • hard to test - bases on unconscious feelings
        • rise in lone parent households but no rise in homosexuals
        • wide range of people influence gender not just parents
        • little evidence to support - findings cannot generalized
      • if child brought up without a father -will become homoual
    • Social Learning Theory
      • believe gender is learnt from watching and copying behaviour of others
      • processes are modelling, imitate and vicarious reinforcement
      • modelling - someone acts as a role model + provides an example for the child to follow
        • someone similar, powerful + loving and caring
      • imitation - child copies behaviour shown by the model
      • Vicarious reinforcement -  child learns what happens to the model when they carry out a certain behaviour
      • Williams - 1975
        • children living in Canada
        • one town provided with TV for first time, other towns already provided
        • measured attitudes of children at beginning of study and  2 years later
        • children were more sex stereotyped in attitudes and behaviour than 2 years before
        • gender is learnt by imitating attitudes + behaviour seen on TV
      • Evaluation
        • well supported by research - many studies come to the same conclusion
        • does not explain why children brought up one-parent families don't have any difficulty developing gender
          • or why they can behave differently
        • ignores biological differences in males and females
    • Gender Schema Theory
      • made up of knowledge we have about each gender
      • contain information about behaviour, clothes, personality traits etc.
      • believed to develop with age - at 2 children know their gender + ale to identify others by gender
      • children learn about gender from what they see + experience in their environment
      • ideas are rigid + stereotyped but as they get older schemas become more flexible
      • some children more highly gender schematised than others
      • Evaluation
        • well supported by evidence
        • most detailed + thorough explanation on gender development
        • does not explain why some children are more highly gender schematised than others
        • does not explain why gender develops at 2 - why do children choose gender appropriate toys before 2?
    • Diamond & Sigmundson
      • researched a case on a twin boy who was raised as a girl after the accidental destruction of his penis
      • advised by psychologist who promoted that a child's gender identity can be determined by how they are raised
      • at 21 months Bruce underwent surgery + was raised as Brenda - unaware of medical history
      • child resisted the treatment - rejected girls' toys etc. + mimicked father's behaviour
      • said she felt like a boy
      • behaviour became so destructive (suicide attempts) parents had to tell the truth
      • Brenda underwent surgery and began to live as David
      • the effects of David's chromosomes outweighed the efforts to raise him as a girl
      • nature over nurture

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