Biosocial approach to gender development

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  • Created by: KCharlish
  • Created on: 07-04-16 14:58

AO1 1 Biosocial theory

Money et al;

  • sex rearing is the pivotal point in gender development. 
  • What matters is what gender you are told you are - before the age of 3.
  • Biology is likely to determine what sex of rearing
  • Ambiguous cases
  • In both cases gender identity will be determined by socialisation based on gender assignment
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AO2 1 Flawed evidence

  • most of the evidence is derived from the study of abnormal individuals
    • e.g. the study of genetic females exposed prenatally to male hormones
  • evidence may not be relevant to understanding gender development, as it does not reflect experiences of normal individuals.
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AO2 2 Biological determinism

  • David Reimer case - initially supported biosocial theory as he accepting his gender re-assignment 
    • He ultimately rejected this
    • suggesting that biological sex is more important than socialisation.
  • Reiner and Gearhart
    • 16 genetic males born with almost no penis
    • 14 raised as females
    • 8 decided by adolesensce to re-assign themselves as males
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AO2 3 Case study

  • David Reimer was a single case study - cannot generalise the findings to the wider population in assuming everyone would behave similarly.
    • Bruce had an identical twin who may have influenced his own gender development as he would have seen some connection with him in physical appearence.
    • Contact with twin may have been a confounfing variable.
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AO1 2 Social role theory

Wood et al

  • evolutionary explanations
  • selective pressures may have caused physical differences which lead to sex role allocations which is what causes psychological differences. 
    • Men are stronger - hunting role
    • Women take the nurturing role of caring for the children
  • Psychological differences are the product of these roles
    • Men = aggresive
    • Women = empathetic
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IDA - Feminism

Real World Application

Feminist movement has succeeded in bringing about change in opportunities for women in the UK.

Social role theory supports feminist view that changes in social roles will lead to changes in psychological differences between men and women.

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AO2 4 Gender empowerment measure

  • identify levels of gender equality in various cultures
  • in cultures where women had a higher status and male - female division was less pronounced, sex differences in mating preferences because less pronounced
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AO2 5 Gangestad


  • further analysis of the same data after adding additional controls such as afluence and social structure.
  • gender equality was not related to sex differences
  • thus evolutionary theory can provide a better explanation of the joint effects of biology and culture
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