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Difference between sex and gender
Sex versus gender
Sex refers to whether an individual is female or male. Sex relates to the physical differences between men and women. It may refer to chromosomal sex
and therefore can be determined by DNA. Sex is fixed and therefore cannot be changed.


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If sex is whether an individual is male or female then it is decided at conception when a sperm fertilises an egg. A newly formed foetus has the
chromosomes that determine whether it will be born a boy or a girl. Whether it is born with masculine or feminine traits…

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The nature-nurture debate
The two main arguments are that gender is innate (present at birth) or it has been learnt.

These two different perspectives represent a famous debate that occurs throughout psychology: the nature-nurture debate.

Nature argument
The nature side of the debate states that gender is biological. This would…

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Nurture argument
The nurture side of the nature-nurture debate states that gender is essentially a product of socialisation.

Socialisation = a process whereby individuals are taught and encouraged to adopt certain values and roles.

The extreme nurture view would suggest that gender related behaviour is entirely determined by social and…

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Aim: To investigate the similarities and differences across gender roles in different cultures.

Method: Mead carried out a detailed ethnographic (scientific description of specific cultures) study by living with various tribes.

She lived with various tribes in New Guinea for 6 months.

Results: In the Arapesh tribe, both sexes were…

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Both parents detested childcare so much that sleeping babies were hung out of the way in dark places.

In the Tchambuli tribe, gender roles were reversed compared to Western society.

Females were very independent and took care of trading.

Meanwhile males sat around in groups, gossiping and preening themselves. It…

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Ecologically valid ­ the observation took Observer effect ­ the presence of Mead
place in the tribes' natural setting of New may have changed the behaviours of the
Guinea tribes being studied which would produce
Empirical evidence can be used to show demand characteristics
that gender is not universal and…

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If behaviour is a product of human nature, then it should occur across the world regardless of experience and upbringing. For example, sleeping is a
natural behaviour and is therefore universal (occurring around the world).

Cross cultural research is useful for investigating the nature/nurture debate in relation to gender differences.…




Hi, I am doing gender for my Unit 3 (A2) exam, I was just wondering if these notes are still suitable? Seen that these notes are for AS so just want to make sure I'm doing the right topic areas!! Thanks

Lauren Stubbs


These notes are based on the AQA Psychology B spec at AS :)

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