AS AQA Psychology B Gender Development

Gender development notes, includes key approaches and views

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Gender Development
Gender Concepts
Sex and Gender:
Sex: the biological fact of being male or female. This may refer to chromosomal sex (XX or XY), gonadal sex (the possession of ovaries or
testes) and/or genital sex (the possession of a vagina or a penis)
Gender: the social, psychological, behavioural and cultural aspects of being male or female (E.g. femininity or masculinity)
Gender Identity: the way a person understands and classifies themselves in relation to gender (E.g. how people feel, think and talk
about themselves; the psychological aspects of gender)
Gender Role: the expected ways of acting for men and women in a given society (i.e. the behavioural aspects of gender)
Gender stereotypes: simplistic ideas that regard all men/women as being the same in relation to a particular trait or characteristic.
Sex role stereotypes: widely held but usually simplistic ideas about the appropriateness of behaviour from men or women.
Research into androgyny:
Androgyny: being/looking a mix of male or female (e.g. possessing male and female characteristics)
Bem (1974, female) believed that masculinity and femininity are independent traits, which are not inevitably linked to sex. According
to her BSRI scale (Bem Sex Role Inventory) a person could score high in both. A person who scores high in both was considered
androgynous and more "well-rounded" and therefore healthier. However people may over/underrate themselves, so subjective and
not always reliable.
Research into sex-role stereotypes:
Adults treat kids differently according to their gender, so kids have certain behaviours reinforced (see Baby X experiment, Seavey et
al.) Urberg (1982) children told gender stereotypical stories to children of different age groups.
The Nature/Nurture debate regarding gender:
Nature: Gender differences result from innate differences between male and female genes, chromosomes, nervous system, hormones
Interactionism: Gender differences are caused by innate tendencies that are modified by environmental factors
Nurture: Gender differences result from the different experiences that females and males have as they develop (learnt from press,
society etc.)

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Universal Features: (found everywhere) would suggest an innate basis for gender and support a nature view
Culturally specific features: (found in some places and not others) would suggest that gender is learned and support the nurture view
Approach Nature or Explanation Evidence that Evidence that contradicts
Nurture supports view
Biological Nature "hormones, chromosomes all affect our body Aggression
differently resulting in different behaviours for studies
different genders" also "male/female brain"
Cognitive Interactionist "our behaviour is influenced by learning and experience Kholberg Cant explain difference in…read more

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C: there were culturally specific features in all tribes suggesting that nurture has a bigger impact on gender, however the one
universally specific feature that men go to war, suggest that nature still has an influence
A: to
M: he observed the Trobiand Islanders.
R: in documenting their sexual behaviour he reported that the women were highly aggressive ­ gangs of women would
capture and rape men from other tribes, often quite brutally.…read more

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Cognitive Gender Schema: Stage1: child learns what things are associated with each sex
Stage 2: Child begins to make links between different
components of the schema, so that knowing what someone
likes to play with will allow the child to predict what other
things about them. For example, someone who plays with
dolls is more likely to wear dresses and have long hair. In
stage two a child can only make these links for their own sex.…read more

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The phallic stage is where pleasure is gained from the genital
area of the body. The most important aspect of the phallic
stage is the Oedipus complex/ Electra complex. Fixation at
this stage may result in an adult always looking to find a
mother/ father figure in their relationships or homosexual.…read more

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Psychodynamic defence mechanisms:
Defence Description Example
Reaction Behaving in ways directly opposite to unconscious feelings or Behaving in a friendly way to someone you
formation impulses dislike
Displacement Transferring impulses and feelings to an originally neutral or innocent Scapegoating where a social group is
target wrongly blamed
Projection Attributing ones own unacceptable impulses to another person Saying someone else is frightened of the
dark when you actually are
Rationalisation Also known as intellectualisation.…read more


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