Explanations for gender development

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Biological

Genetic

AO1

  • Usually direct link between individual's chromosomal sex and external genitalia
  • During prenatal development all start same - few weeks after conception both have external genitalia that look female
  • When foetus about 3 months, if develop as male, testes normally produce male hormone testosterone causing male genitalia to develop
  • Genetic transmission explains how individuals aqcuire sex, may also explain some aspects of gender because link between genes, genitalia and hormones

AO2/3

  • Money and Ehrhardt (1972): claimed biological sex not main factor in gender development, sex of rearing much more important
  • David Reimer case - believed could be successfully raised as boy or girl
  • Reiner and Gearhart (2004): studied 16 genetic males born with almost no penis- 2 raised as males and remained male, remaining 14 raised as females and 8 reassigned as males by 16
  • Suggests genetic sex more important than sex of rearing
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Biological

Role of hormones

AO1

  • Chromosomes initially determine sex but most gender development governed by hormones
  • Produced prenatally (eg. testosterone) and in adolescence (eg. pubic hair) - influence development of genitalia and/or brain
  • Intersex individuals: exposure to abnormal hormole levels prenatally - too little male hormones = male external appearance as female - large dose of male hormones - ambiguous genitalia - androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS)
  • Genetic female exposed prenatally to relatively large doses of male hormones (eg. pregnant mothers given drugs) - usually identified as girls at birth and content with gender assignment
  • Berenbaum and Bailey (2003): indicated often interested in male-type activities and tomboyish
  • Male brians different from female eg. girls generally better at social skills and less at navigation
  • Geschwind and Galaburda (1987): First to suggest sex differences caused by effects of testosterone levels on developing brain. Male brains exposed prenatally to more testosterone than females and leads to development of masculine brain

 

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Biological

cont...

AO2/3

  • Quadagno et al (1977)female monkeys deliberately exposed to testosterone during prenatal development. Later more rough-and-tumble play and aggressive than other females
  • Genetic sex doesn't match external genitalia in cases of abnormal hormone exposure and hormones don't produce simple formula for establishing gender. Eventual outcome of each individual is what appears complex and unpredictable combination of genes, hormones, sex of rearing and socialisation. Doesn't appear to be any complex rules
  • eg. cognital hyperglasia (CAH) occurs when females have prenatally high levels of male hormones resulting in varying degrees of external male genitalia. Research indicates gender assignment seems accepted by some but not others
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Biological / Evolutionary

Division of Labour

AO1

  • Traditional picture of man hunter gatherers and woman getherer/ domestic goddess
  • If woman spent time hunting would reduce group's reproductive success
  • Further adaptive advantage: women providing food, shelter and clothing
  • Kuhn and Stiner (2006): might actually explain why humans survival and Neanderthals didn't 
  • More adaptive division of labour evolved in humans not Neanderthals

AO2/3

  • Evolutionary explanation speculative: doesn't have firm factual basis
  • Kuhn and Stines (2006): gender division keeping humans alive - actually not possible to study and don't have any falsifiable proof to suggest theory correct
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Biological / Evolutionary

Mate choice

AO1

  • Key to adaptive behaviour is reproductive success: many gender role behaviours related to reproductive strategies
  • Men seek physical attractiveness and women seek to enhance physical attractiveness; women seek wealth and power and men advertise status

AO2/3

  • Waynforth and Dunbar (1995): used personal ads to assess seeking and advertising. Represent writer's ideal bid in mate selection
  • Results as predicted: 44% males sought physically attractive partner compared to 22% of women; 50% women offered attractiveness and 34% of males
  • Suggests correct in males seeking in mate and women seeking resources for stability
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Biological / Evolutionary

Tend and befriend

AO1

  • Women better at empathising and more focussed on interpersonal concerns
  • Taylor et al (2000): may stem from different challenges faced when dealing with stress in EEA
  • Ancestral males dealt with threats by getting ready ready to fight or flee, females adaptive response to protect young and selves as primary caregivers
  • Also adaptive to group together
  • Leads female tendancy to 'tend and befriend' at times of stress whereas males become defensive
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Biological / Evolutionary

AO2/3

  • Ennis et al (2001): natural experiment testing male-female differences in stress responses. Sampled levels of cortisol a week before students took exams and immediately before. In males significant increase in cortisol levels, in females significant decrease
  • Supports view men and women respond differently
  • Taylor et al (2000): levels of oxytocin increases with stress in women. May stem from different challenges when dealing with stress in EEA
  • May just be women revised more - natural experiment
  • Deterministic: Genes specify how people will behave eg. women bare children and look after home while male hunts
  • Deterministic explanation mistaken as suggests women shouldn't, therefore go out and get job, likewise men shouldn't stay at home and rear children
  • Methodological issues: cultural bias/ self-report/ questionnaires
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Biosocial

Biosocial theory

AO1

  • Money and Ehrhardt: once male/female born social labelling and differential treatment interact with biological factors to steer development
  • Theory attempts to mix influences of nature and nurture
  • Biology likely to determine sex of rearing - baby sexed and birth and everything follows
  • However, some individuals intersexes and may be mistyped at birth
  • If genetic male mislabelled as girl and treated as girl would acquire gender indentity of girl
  • Key to gender development is label person given

AO2/3

  • Money: David Reimer sex of rearing girl but biological sex boy and gender felt boy
  • Genetic sex more important than sex of rearing
  • However, could have been one off
  • Reimer not intersex, most studies intersex - issue with generalisability - small sample size
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Biosocial

Social role theory

AO1

  • Eagly and Wood (1999): evolutionary explanation of gender development not fully correct
  • Suggests selective pressures only cause physical differences leading to sex role allocations which create psychological sex differences

AO2/3

  • Luxen (2007): behaviour at least as important as physical characteristics therefore selective pressure act on behaviour to create psychological and physical sex differences
  • Sex differences without socialisation: very young children display sex differences in toy preferences - likely to be little influence in gender assignation due to socialisation more likely that biological factors eg. genes have bigger influence
  • Real-world application: evolutionary approach seen as force against gender equality as alters social context, can't change XX roles because physically and psychologically different - innate. Value of social role - gives more free-will argument and ability to chance role/path in society
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