Biological approach on gender evaluation


Biological approach on gender - evaluation


  • Boys have a surge of testosterone age 4, explaining why they are more active and boisterous than girls
  • Waber- boys that matured later had better verbal ability
  • Galligani et all.- male athletes using steroids were more aggressive
  • Connellan et al.- baby boys are more interested in mechanical toys, girls preferred faces
  • Hampson and Kimura- high levels of oestrogens and progesterones resulted in being better at fine motor tasks, worse at visual spatial
  • Women seem more coy, men seem more promiscuous- due to differences in the hypothalamus
  • Females develop superior language, emotional and fine motor skills, while males have better visual spatial and mathematical skills
  • Abnormal chromosome patterns are linked with Turner's syndrome in females, and Klinefelter's syndrome in males
  • Van Goozen et al.- transsexuals were given hormone treatment- males becoming female had less aggression, visual spatial skills, but better verbal fluency. Vice versa for females becoming male


  • Criticising Van Golden et al's study:
  • -It wasn't controlled, so changes may have been due to other uncontrolled variables
  • -We shouldn't generalise from such an unusual sample. Moreover how do we reliably measure aggression, etc?
  • Slabbekoorn et al- sex hormones don't have consistent effects on gender behaviour
  • SLT- why don't the 2 sexes behave in more consistent ways? We behave according to our unique experiences and cultures
  • Cognitive- too reductionist and deterministic. We have to understand the thought processes
  • Psychodynamic- what about childhood experiences and familial relationships? Gender doesn't develop in isolation from society
  • Lot of research on hormone effects done on animals- not generalisable to humans. Even humans have unusual cases not representing typical development, and many findings haven't been replicated
  • There's not always evidence of chromosomal or hormonal abnormalities in atypical gender development
  • More people are seeing themselves as androgynous, despite having the same chromosome and hormone patterns as parents. Indicates society and culture has an effect


The biological approach has much empirical evidence for its theories; however, this evidence isn't entirely reliable.


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