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The Evolutionary Approach
· Division of labour: women always pregnant/ rearing
children, so unable to hunt, but able to gather. Gender
roles have adaptive advantage- more babies survive,
more food as men are free from domestic duties.
Neanderthals have no labour division, so die out.
Speculative theory, no way to prove or disprove.
Neanderthals also faced climate change etc.
· Mate choice: men look for physical attractiveness
(fertility), women look for resources. Men try to be
successful, women try to enhance attractiveness.
Waynforth and Dunbar: 44% of men seek attractive partner
compared to 22% of women, 50% of women advertise
attractiveness compared to 34% of men.…read more

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The Evolutionary Approach...continued
· Cognitive style: Empathise/systemise: males evolve
systemising brain for hunting, women evolve empathy
for rearing children.
Implications: autism may be just extreme male brain: over-
systemising, unable to empathise.
Baron-Cohen found only 17% of men have `female' brain,
and the same percentage vice versa. AO3: questionnaire.
· Cognitive style: Tend and befriend: males respond to
threats with fight/flight, women respond by protecting
young and being part of a social group for mutual safety.
Oxytocin levels (bonding hormone) increase in females
dealing with exam stress.…read more

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The Biosocial Approach
· Biosocial theory: social learning and differential treatment of children
interact with biological factors, but the sex of rearing is the most
important. A child's gender can be changed before they turn 3.
Theory refuted by outcome of Jo/Joan study. Only tested on
abnormal individuals: low ecological validity.
· Social role theory: selective pressures in the EEA cause physical
differences which create gender roles, which create psychological
differences. This also influences mate choice: social roles mean that
women have to choose men with resources, so come to prefer them.
Men have more testosterone because they are more active, rather than
the hormone causing the activity.
Small children who haven't developed a gender role still display
gender differences in play etc.
Ethical appeal (feminism): social roles are flexible, evolved gender
roles aren't.…read more

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Androgyny: Bem
· The `androgyny' perspective sees gender as two ends of a
continuum, rather than two set states.
· Androgynous individuals have a mixture of male and
female traits and tend to be more adaptable, have higher
self-esteem and greater emotional well-being.
· They also act independently of gender schemas, so
choose the best actions rather gender-appropriate ones.
· Culture creates gender roles, not individuals.
The link between psychological health and androgyny can
be explained by the use of the M/F scale. Masculine traits
are also characteristic of high self-esteem (confidence,
assertiveness) so women who have masculine traits (are
androgynous) also rate high on psychological health.…read more

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Gender Dysphoria
· Gender dysphoria is an experience of discomfort with assigned gender, and is the
core symptom of Gender Identity Disorder (GID).
· Psychological explanations: GID may be related to childhood trauma or
maladaptive upbringing.
· Stoller proposed that GID results from distorted parental attitudes. He found
that in clinical interviews many GID sufferers displayed overly close mother-son
Coates produced a case study of a boy who developed GID aged three, supposedly as a
defensive reaction to his mother's depression following an abortion.
However... Cole found that the range of psychiatric conditions in 435 GID individuaks
was the same as the general population.
· Biological explanations: prenatal hormones may masculinise/feminise the
brain in a way that doesn't match physical gender. For example, the pesticide
DDT contains oestrogen, which may feminise male foetuses.
· Dutch research shows feminine play in boys exposed to dioxins such as DDT prenatally.
· Medical conditions such as CAH and AIS may result in an intersex condition.
Zhou studied male-to-female transsexuals and found they all had a female-sized BSTc
(part of the hypothalamus).…read more

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