Psychology B541 Revision Notes

Topics: Sex&Gender, Memory, Obediance, Attachment, Atypical Behaviour

Notes created using the OCR textbook.

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Sex and Gender (Biological Psychology)
Sex: Biological term that tells us whether an individual is male or female
Gender: Psychological term that tells us whether an individual is masculine or feminine
Key concepts:
Sex is determined at conception, when sperm fertilises an egg
Person sex obvious through characteristics from birth (Penis/Vagina)
Also from other developed characteristics (Breasts/Facial hair)
Characteristics fixed so sex cannot change
Internal organs (ovaries/brain) stay the same and hence determine the sex
Sex change operations don't fully change the sex, original sex has to stay on the
Gender is more to do with how a person thinks or behaves
3 main categories: Masculine, Feminine, Androgynous
Some evidence that androgynous people are psychologically healthier than
people who are just masculine/feminine
Masculinity: Gender term associated with male traits/ roles (aggressiveness/sporty)
Femininity: Gender term associated with female traits/roles (sensitivity/caring for
Androgyny: Type of gender where an individual shows high levels of both masculine and
feminine traits
Behaviour, sex and gender:
Sex and gender often related, most males act masculine and vice versa
Both sexes can display androgynous behaviours
Evidence to show more androgynous people now than before, gender roles
Gender roles changing across generations
Some psychologists believe similarly people can change their own gender
within a lifetime
E.g. a girl could be a `tomboy' as a child but grown up to be a very feminine
Although sex and gender often related it's not always the case
Possible for an individual to be a female but display masculine behaviours and
vice versa
Shows us why it is important to distinguish between sex and gender, they don't
always match expectations
Core Theory: Biological Approach

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Chromosome: Part of a cell that contains genetic information
Biological approach believes that an individual's gender is decided at the same
time their sex is- conception
New foetus forms and has 2 sex chromosomes as part of its genetic make up
Pair of chromosomes decide whether it will be male or female
This approach also says chromosomes determine whether the individual will be a
masculine or feminine person
Females sex chromosome is XX
Males sex chromosomes is XY
Although it's unusual babies can be born…read more

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Evolution: A process by which species adapt to their environment in order to survive and
Biological approach believes human behaviour is instinctive
Instincts developed to help us survive and reproduce
Hence, this approach says gender roles are instinctive
Males and females have physical difference (Penis/Vagina), also have
psychological differences that help reproduction
Approach states male and female evolved with different levels of hormones, this
affects their psychological characteristics
E.g.…read more

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Says gender less to do with biology and nature, more to do with nurture and
Particularly focuses on role of parents
Parental relationships:
Oedipus complex: A conflict that occurs when boys unconsciously desire their mothers but
fear their father finding out
Electra complex: A conflict that occurs when girls unconsciously desire their father but worry
about losing their mother's love
Freud most famous psychologist behind psychodynamic approach
Believed children develop in stages
Between ages 3-6, a child develops strong attachment to opposite sex parent…read more

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Biological approach supported by caste study reported on by Diamond and
Sigmundson in 1997
They aimed to show that a child cannot be socialised to take on the role on the
opposite sex
Diamond and Sigmundson studied case of boy who had been raised as a girl
Conducted interviews to help describe the life history of this boy
Boy was one of a pair of twins born in Canada in 1965
At 8 months routine circumcision operation went wrong
One of the twins, Bruce,…read more

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Just because Bruce could not adapt to
his new gender role does not mean that
other boys would not be able to
Bruce may have been exception to rule
Case studies based on naturally occurring Case of Bruce complicated by certain
situations, so it is not possible to control key factors, twin brother who looked exactly
variable like him
Gave him a masculine role model that he
could've imitated
Also, Bruce was raised as a boy for over a
year and a half
Ideally, he…read more

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Many psychologists argue this is because of socialisation, we bring up girls and
teach them to be successful
Interestingly, before 1980's males did better at school than females
This could be because girls were not encouraged to be successful in education
Or because school curriculum now take into account girls' natural interests and
abilities more than before
Although it is said there are not many natural differences between males and
females there are still some
E.g.…read more

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Many cognitive psychologists take an information processing approach to
studying memory
They believe human memory processes bits of information in stages, much
like a computer processes data
Cognitive psychologists find it useful to compare human memory with
computer memory
They believe this helps them to explain how the human memory works
According to cognitive psychologists, there are 5 main stages to
information processing
Input: The process of data entry
Encoding: The process in which data is changed into another format
Storage: The process in which…read more

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When we conjure up an image in our minds or recall a song,
these are outputs too.
Accessibility and Availability:
It has been suggested retrieval and output are not straightforward. Computers may be
good at finding store info but humans' experience `forgetting' everyday.…read more

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Main idea behind this is that the human memory system is made up of various
separate and distinct stores
Also believes that memory is affected by 2 main factors: time and space
Importance of time seen by the labels given to the 2 main stores: short-term
memory (STM) and long-term memory (LTM)
Sensory store: The store where all immediate information is briefly held unless it is paid
attention to
Attention: A process that makes people aware of information in the memory
Decay: This is the…read more



good but way to much information stick to key information but thanx anyway



Sumaya Rahman

Lol, im glad it helped. Got me an A*, hope u guys smashed it too.


love you doughb

Sumaya Rahman

Haha, hope it helped you Samuel. 

Joe Haigh

This is brilliant - will no doubt help me so much for my exams.  Thanks so much!!

Joe Haigh

This is brilliant - will no doubt help me so much for my exams.  Thanks so much!!

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