Discuss the influence of genes and hormones in gender development

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Discuss the influence of genes and hormones in gender development
AO1 Genetics: In humans we have 23 pairs of chromosomes; each pair of chromosomes contains
genes that control different areas of development and different physical and behavioural
characteristics. One pair of chromosomes is the sex chromosomes, these control what sex we are
when we are born, in males these chromosomes are XY and in females they are XX, the biological
approach also argues that these chromosomes also control our gender. By studying people with
atypical sex chromosomes and comparing their development with that of people with typical sex
chromosomes, psychologists are able to make inferences as to what aspects of gender behaviour is
genetic. Kleinfelter's syndrome affects 1/500 male, these men have an extra X chromosome,
making their sex chromosomes XXY. This syndrome affects the physical appearance of the individual:
they have less body hair, breast tissue, and small testes and penis. It also affects their behaviour, as
they are known to become more calm, shy, passive and cooperative which are more feminine traits.
Therefore the additional X chromosome may affect gender development and make individuals more
feminine. Another syndrome that is caused by the sex chromosomes is Turner's syndrome, this is
when female's only have one X chromosome, making their sex chromosome pair XO. The individuals
appear female but ovaries fail to develop, and lack of hormones such as oestrogen and
progesterone results in physical differences such as a webbed neck, broad chest, shorter in height,
no breasts and no menstruation. Therefore the absence of additional X chromosome may lead to
differences in female gender development. Evidence of atypical sex chromosome patterns supports
the biological explanation of gender development as it shows how biological sex and gender
development are closely linked. This is because the differences in behaviour can be attributed to the
differences in chromosomal pattern.
AO2 Genetics: However, Money provided evidence to contradict that biological sex is not the
main factor. He claimed that sex of rearing is more important in determining gender identity than
biology (as long as sex-typing is done before the age of three). Money used the case of
David/Bruce/Brenda to support this. Bruce was born as an XY male with a penis that was accidently
removed during surgery when he was an infant. Money advised that Bruce's parent raise him as
Brenda and later claimed that this `experiment' was successful, supporting his view that social not
biological factors determined gender identity. However, Diamond and Sigmundson uncovered the
true story and revealed Brenda's unhappiness as a girl and eventual decision in adolescence to
become a boy (David). This suggests that genetic sex is important in the development of gender
identity. Reiner and Gearhart who studied 16 genetic males born with almost no penis further
supports this; 14 were raised as girls, of which 8 had decided by adolescence to re-assign
themselves as males, further supporting the importance of genetics in gender development.
However, much of the research involves abnormal individuals (intersexes), who are not clearly make
or female (e.g. there is a mismatch between chromosomal sex and what hormones they were
exposed to). Such individuals may be more vulnerable to social influence than `normal' because their
biological ambiguities mean they have to search for clues for their identity. This threatens the extent
to which the research findings can be generalised to all people.

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AO1 Hormones: Chromosomes initially determine a person's sex but most gender development is
actually governed by hormones: a chemical produced by the body that affects cells and organs. Sex
hormones found in humans include testosterone and oestrogen, each are present in normal males
and females but in different amounts. Ovaries produce high levels of oestrogen also affects the brain
and behaviour: it is thought that oestrogen is thought to make girls more sensitive and gives them
superior verbal skills.…read more

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A- Despite cultural bias, a strength of the biological approach is that it provides clear
predictions about the effects of genes on behaviour, this means that the explanations can be
easily tested and `proven'.
D- However, and issue with this biological approach is that it suggests gender development is
solely due to genetics and therefore biological factors (nature); it totally ignores the role of
social and psychological influences on gender.…read more



hi do u have an essay for biosocial approach to gender development or essay for gender dysphoria? 

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