Gender Development

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  • Created by: bethany
  • Created on: 22-04-13 20:07

Biological influences on gender

Bioloigal sex is determined bt the sex chromosomes x and y. 

xy = male

** female

The X and Y chromosomes are responsible for the development of the embryo into a bioloigcally female and male by triggering the development of glands. These glands produce a series of hormones, for a female baby this hormone is oestrogen and for a male baby this hormone is tesosterone. 

There are also cases when a child will have an abnormal chromsome pattern; the two most common syndromes are Klinefleter's syndrome AND Turner's syndrome.

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Biological influences on gender - Klinefelter's sy

  • XXY
  • Male 
  • 1/500 - 1/1000
  • Individual appears male and is bioloigcally male
  • Frontal boldness, wide hips, long legs
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Biological influences on gender - Turner's syndrom

  • X0 chromosome
  • women 
  • 1/2500
  • individual appears female and is biologically female
  • web of skin, poor breast development, under developed ovaries
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Biological influences on gender (A01 research)

McGinley et al

Case study, 38 boys from 23 families, Dominican republic - The Baptista boys. The study aimed to investigate how well the boys adoped to their bioloigcal male identity when they had been brough up as females. At puberty, tesosterone levels increased and the boys began to appear physically male. Boys adopted their male idenitty and had no problems doing so.

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Biological influences on gender (A02 research)

Reiner and Gerhart

Studied 16 gentically born males, but who were born with almost no penis. 14 of the boys were raised as females, but 8 of them reassigned their gender to male by the age of 16

Rommsayer and Troche

Correlational study on prenatal exposure to hormones. Measured 2d:4dr. 700 ppts, all ppts completed Bem's measure of masculinity and femininity. The male ppts who scored high on the femininity of the BEM's scale had a finger pattern to the females. 

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Biological influences on gender IDA

(A) Biological 

(D) Reductionist

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Evolutionary Explanations of Gender Roles

A01 introduction

Evolutionary sees changes in behav and physical appearance occuring through mutations. Evolution theorues see gender roles as having occured ue to difference selective pressures on males and females, therefore assuming that gender differences have evolved because they are advantageous to each sex

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Evolutionary Explanations of Gender Roles - Parent

Triver's argued that behavioural differences between men and women evolved due to different reproductive strategies, which in the past led to reproductive success.

Males have little parental investment, and instead want to 'spead their seed' having multiple partners. Whereas reproduction for females carries with it a lot of investment; they have to carry the baby for 9 months til birth, and once the child is born, nurture the child, eg breast feeding. Therefore, the best strategy for a woman is to choose a mate who has good genes, power and resources. 

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Evolutionary Explanations of Gender Roles - Mate C

This theory is based on the evolutionary assumption that gender roles are related to reproductive strategies. 

Mate choice

men look for: physical attractiveness

Women traditionally interested in the resources a partner may be able to provide

The Evolutionar explanation is related to the way males and females attempt to maximise their reproductive success. In this sense, males mate as frequently as they can and select women who are younger and healthy (signs of fertility), women are more concerned with finding a partner to provide resources. Therefore, in terms of gender differences women seek a partner who is wealthy and powerful, thus men advertise these qualities, and men seek a partner who is attractive, thus women act to enhance this. 

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Evolutionary Explanations of Gender Roles - A02 re


Explored what males and females looked for in a partner.10,000+ sample size, across 37 cultures. The survey found that women more than men desired goood financial prospects, and men universally wanted a partner who was younger.

Waynforth and Dunbar

Used personal advertisement to identitfy what men and women were seeking and advertising.

F 44% of males sought physical sttractive female, only 22% of women

50% of women offered being attractive, only 34% men

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Evolutionary Explanations of Gender Roles - IDA's

(A) Biological

T (D) reductionist

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The Biosocial approach to Gender

Biosocial theorists believe gender indentity arises from interation between the environment and bioloigcal factors.

Money and Ehrhardt suggest that influences on both nature and nurture are equally important in determining a persons gender identity. This is because when we are born we are born with ** or XY chromosomes that label us within society as either a girl or boy. This label then leads to child experiencing different treatment stemming from social expectations, often heavily influenced by parents. For example, if a chil has ** chromosomes they will be labelled as a girl, from this they are likely to have their room painted pink from a young age by their parents as society deems this is what girls like. 

However, there are some cases when some individuals are born as an intersex baby and as a result it is difficult to determine the sex of the baby. According to Money and Ehrhardt children are born gender neutral, and if a genetic male is mislabelled as a girl at birth and is treated like a girl before they are three, then the child develops the gender idenity of a female. This is called the theory of neutrality. 

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The Biosocial approach to Gender (A01/2 research)

The case study of David Reimer - Money 1975

Aimed to assess whtehr gender could be reassigned or whether it was biologically determined. The situatio involved two twin boys, one of the boys, before the age of one has his penis circumsised and this went wrong, so that virtually all his penis was burnt off. As a result one of the boys was raised as a girl. At aged 18months David was castrated and received oestrogen treatment and was raised as a girl. Money reported the case study as a succes as at age 9 David had established a female identity. Therefore, supporting the theory that children are born gender neutral. However, during adolescence David reassumed his bioloigcal male identity, thus overall the case study contradicts the idea that children are born gender neutral, thus challenges the reliability to the theory.

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The Biosocial approach to Gender (A02 research)

Bradley et al

reported the case of a biological male who, after accidental damage to his penis, had reassignment surgery and was raised as a femae. The individual exhibited some male behaviours as a child, but preferred female company, and, as an adult, perceived themself as a female and was happy that way. Therefore this supports Money's thory that we are born gender neutral and our environment influences our gender identity.

Smith and Lloyd (1978)

Dressed babies in non specific gender clothes, the labelled them with a boy's or a girl's name. It was found thar people would play with them in different ways according to their gender label, with boys being reated in a more physical manner. This is in line with the biosocial theory's assumption that gender labels direct how children are treated.

Contradictory research - McGinley

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The Biosocial approach to Gender (IDA's)

(A) Biological and social factors and is therefore an example of a more holistic theory

(D) Nature v nurture - both, therefore interactionist

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Gender Dysphoria

Individual's who suffer from GD experience a conflict between their biological sex and gender identity. Indv feel as though they are trapped with their body and in society are often referred to as transexuals. The disorder effects 1/11000 and men more so than women. 

To be diagnosed with GD, it must affect the person's ability to function in everyday life, feel a strong sense of discomfort with their bioloigcal sex and must experience ongoing identification with the opposite sex.

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Gender Dysphoria - Biological explanations

Research has suggested that Gender dysphoria is linked to genetic disorders such as Turner's syndrome and Klinefelter's syndrome. 

Prenatal hormone levels may be affected by genetic conditions and this may lead to a mismatch between hormones and genetic sex. 

Androgen Insensitivity syndrome and congenital adrenal hyperplasia may result in an intersex condition when external genitalia does not match genetic sex and individuals may be assigned the wrong sex at birth. 

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Gender Dysphoria - Biological explanations (A01 re

McGinley et al

Case study, 38 boys from 23 families in the Cominican Republic - The Baptista Boys. The aim was to investigate how well the boys adopted their bioloigcal male identity when they had been brought up as female. The Baptista boys had a rare genetic abnormality; they were born with male sex chromosome (XY) but appeared female at birth. For the first part of their lives the boys were raised as girls, but during adolescence  changes in tesosterone levels caused them to physically change into males. The boys adapted and had no problmes taking on their new GI. Therefore showing how our hormones, as the genetic explanation for dysphoria suggests, dictate our behaviour.


looked at a number f different studies that involved the prossed involved in GD and found one particular study that showed 2% of over 300 MZ and DZ twins showed evidence of suffering from GD, providing evidence for the biological explanation of GD. 

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Gender Dysphoria - psychosocial explanation

Distored parental attitudes

Stoller proposed that GD occurs due to distored parental attitudes, they claimed that extreme stress during adult life majorly disturbs all aspects of a perseon's ideneity, which includes their GI. Stoller observed that ind suffering from GI displayed overly close mother - son relationships which then led to confused gender identity and greater female identification. 

Psychodynamic theory

Oversey and Person suggested that extreme seperation anxiety early in life before the individual has established their seuxal identity is the reason for male transseuxualism. When the individual experiences this anxiety they alleviate it by fantasies of the mother and child becoming one. In the transsexuals minds, they become the mother and by sustaining this fantasy the individual will switch their core identity from male to female.

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Gender Dysphoria - psychosocial explanation contin

Social learning Theory

Green suggests that parents of children with GIS often reported that they gave encouragement or were accepting when their child crossdressed. This appears particularly relevant in boys, where they may be taught to put on makeup and wear female dresses. Many mothers and other relatives find it 'cute' when the boys acted in this way. Similarly when parents are accepting of girls who display high levels of tomboyish behaviour are asscoaited with girls who develop GD. 

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Gender Dysphoria (IDA's)

Depend on which explanation.

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The Cognitve develop theory

Kohlberg suggested that a child's understanding of their own gender indentity develops over time through knowledge of their scoail world. Accord to Kohlbers a child develops their understanding of what it is to be female and males in three different stages.

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The Cognitve develop theory - the three stages

Stage one - gender identity Between the age two to three and a half, children are able to use the label boy and girl and are able to recognise what is male or female. At this stage a child's knowlegde is limited, a suitable question to ask a child at this ages would be "are you a boy or a girl". A child at this age, for instance a girl may believe she will grow up to be a mommy and a biy a daddy.

stage two - gender stability Between the age of thre and five a child realises that their gender will not change. At this stage a child is more aware of their gender compared to stage one, however the child will still rely on superficial information, for example a child may believe a woman with short hair is a man. A suitable question to ask a child at this ages is "when you grow up withh you be a mommy or a daddy?" 

stage three - gender constancy Between the ages of five to seven and a half, a child realises there gender is constant and understand that despite superficil changes in individuals gender will not change, for example the child will not understand that short hair does not mean the person is a boy. A suitable question to ask a child at this ages is "could you be a boy or girl if you want to me?"

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The Cognitve develop theory (A02 research)

Slaby and Frey

Aimed to investgate the development of children;s understanding of gender by observing how much attention they give to same sex model. A gender concept interview was carried out on 55 children betwen the ages 2 and 5. Several weeks later the children watched a short film showing a man and a woman carrying our gender stereotyped activities. It was found that the children who had higher levels of gender constancy spent more time watching the same sex models. This provided support for the gender constancy stage.


Found that when young children were shown a line drawing of a doll where the male genicals were visible througha doll's dress, children under the age of 5 judged the doll to be female. This provides support for the gender stability stage.

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The Cognitve develop theory (IDA's)

(A) Behaviourist - observation

(I) ethics, children = research - instilling stereotypes into the children ?

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The Cognitve develop theory (IDA's)

(A) Behaviourist - observation

(I) ethics, children = research - instilling stereotypes into the children ?

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