Gender - Unit 3


Genes and Hormones

A01: At 6 weeks, both sexes have identical gonads (the Mullarian and Wolffian system), Y chromosome produces protein causes testes to develop, if not present, they become ovaries, Androgens (testosterone/dihydrotestosterone) cause the Wolffian system to develop and if not, Mullarian develops, pre-natally they make the sexually dimorphic nucleus twice as large as females and speed up the development of the right hemisphere of the brain.

IDA: Nature/nurture debate, suggests biological factors are entirely responsible for gender, however difficult to research as it is unethical to manipulate genes and hormones in humans, meaning we cannot conclude the precise relationship

EVIDENCE: David Reimer - born a boy, raised as a girl, by age 13 severely depressed and when told the truth reverted to being a boy, Diamond - injected female rats with testosterone, male like genitals/mate with female rats, Gorski - replicated Diamond, found that sexually dimorphic nucleus became male size, Young - female monkeys exposed pre-natally to male hormones, showed more rough play

A03: Case study/animals reduces population validity, lab based gives validity, consistent results

WIDER EVALUATION: the use of animals in research, some consider unethical as we cannot generalise the results, others suggest it is the only way to research biological gender

1 of 9

Biosocial Approach

A01: Biology is the foundation of gender on which social factors are built, innate characteristics of child affect how adults treat it, e.g being a boy or girl, a child's gender identity is consistent with how they are raised, theory acknowledges that gender is flexible

IDA: Nature/nurture debate, acknowledges both biological and social factors but places emphasis on nurture and socialisation

EVIDENCE: David Reimer - born a boy raised a girl, by age 13 severely depressed and when told the truth, reverted to being a boy, Smith and Lloyd - dressed babies as opposite sex and unknown adults interacted with them, found that 'boys' were more likely to be given a squeeky hammer and 'girls' a doll, Young - showed the importance of pre-natal hormones to gender development

A03: Case study reduces population validity, Lab based studies create good internal validity meaning cause and effect can be established, may have been researcher bias in the case of David Reimer

WIDER EVALUATION: The theory ignores the role of genes and hormones, importance demonstarted by Diamond, Gorski and Young, suggests the theory is reductionist

2 of 9

Biosocial Approach to Gender Dysphoria

A01: Additional hormones or androgen insensitivity in the womb, causes the BSTc to develop in line with the opposite sex, If a child is raised in line with their BSTc the child will develop Gender Dysphoria, if they are raised according to their biological sex and not their BSTc, they will not have gender dysphoria. 

IDA: Nature/nurture debate, will a child with the opposite BSTc raised in line with it really develop gender dysphoria? or are there other factors that the theory has not accounted for, perhaps initial hormone imbalance is what causes gender dysphoria, not socialisation

EVIDENCE: Zhou - 6 male to female transexuals, post mortem, had a BSTc that was female like and could not be accounted for entirely by hormones taken in adult life, Beautiful Boys - Gender Dysphoria boys were rated as more attractive, mothers of boys with GD were more likely to describe them as 'beautiful', Thialand - GD is much more common in Thialand

A03: Zhou's research was lab based meaning good internal validity, small sample reduces population validity, difficult nature of studying gender dysphoria

WIDER EVALUATION: Zhou's research highlights the importance of biological factors, the theory blames parents for raising their child to have GD, further research could improve lives of GD

3 of 9

Empathising - Systemising

A01: Female brain is hard-wired for empathising (emotional responsiveness), male brain is hard-wired for systemising, Baren-Cohen suggests they are seperate regions of the brain, these differences gave evolutionary advantages, male hunters and female carerers.

IDA: This theory has issues of determinism, suggests that gender is pre-determined, this is not the case, modern society there are stay at home fathers and working mothers, may create stereotypes and unrealistic expectations for men and women

EVIDENCE: Connellan and Batkiti - babies saw a mobile and a face, videoed, male babies looked at the mobile and female babies looked at the face, Baren-Cohen and Wheelright - developed empathising and systemising quotients, questionars, consistently found women = empathising, men = systemising, although there was some variation

A03: Highly controlled gives good internal validity, Questionaires may create demand characteristics, consistent findings suggests reliability

WIDER EVALUATION: cannot prove that the theory is linked to evolution, perhaps a nin-evolutionary theory is more convinving, e.g SLT (which can explain the variations if Baren-Cohen and Wheelrights results)

4 of 9

Parental Investment

A01: Initial investment differences creates gender roles, Parental care: women have more invested as they have carried the child, Mate Selection: males need someone who is fertile and faithful, women need resources, Sexual Jealousy: men display more aggression/jealousy

IDA: Issues of determinism, suggests that gender is pre-determined and we have no free will over it, in moderin society we see this is not true, men stay at home with children women work, may create stereotypes and unrealistic expectations, socially sensitive

EVIDENCE: Buss - 37 cultures, questionaires, men value physical attractiveness and women valued earning power and occupational status, Anderson - looked at fathers willingness to pay college tuition, most likely if still living with mother but do not discriminate against step children

A03: Buss had good population validity but use of questionaires creates demand characteristics, self report and so not scientfic and naturally occuring reducing internal validity

WIDER EVALUATION: Cannot scientifically study the approach, we cannot be sure that the evidence is actually supportive of an evolutionary approach, other theories may offer a more convincing explanation

5 of 9

Social Influences

A01: Hagan and Keubli - children walked across a cat walk and a high beam under parental supervision, fathers of daughters monitered closest, mothers showed equal concern for boys and girls, Friedman - mothers read and discussed a gender related story, mothers used more counter-stereotypical comments with daughters than sons, mothers gender attitudes predicted childrens stereotyping ages 3-5 but not 6-7, Evans and Davies - looked at books published in 1997 for american children in the 1st, 3rd and 5th grades, although wueal numbers of characters, girls were passive and emotional and boys were aggressive, Bigler - field experiment, split class into girls and boys or divided them by colours, 4 weeks later gender group showed more stereotypical views

IDA: Nature/nurture debate, places emphasis on socialisation, cannot isolate nature or nurture as the only contributing factor, precise nature of the relationship is unclear, Friedman's research suggests that perhaps after age 5, biology takes over?

A03: Hagan and Keubli, not actually about gender although the research has been replicated, Friedman had good ecological validity as measuring natural conversations, also provides longitudinal information about gender developmentm Bigler has ecological validity but lacks control over extraneous variables

WIDER EVALUATION: Does not explain how social influences affecr gender, SLT?

6 of 9

Cultural Research

A01: Wood and Eagly - observed over 1,000 cultures, content analysis, men were responsible for food providing and women for child care, Margaret Mead - Studied the Tchambuli, Arapesh, Mundugumor tribes, in the Tchambuli tripe, women were more dominant than men and in the Mundugumor tribe both men and women were violent and aggressive. Gewertz - Studied the Tchambuli after Mead and found that men were more aggressive than women, Cook - Island of margarita, found that women were largely tradition but men were hunting they became very aggressive. 

IDA: Naure/nurture debate,research suggests both nature and nurture play an importnant role, Mead suggests gender is culturally determined while Wood and Eagly found similar gender roles acroos cultures suggests a biological cause, cannot isolate each variable

A03: Wood and Eagly have good population validity, showing gender is a universal behaviour, Ethnographic approach may lead to misinterpritation or researcher bias, Mead has been criticised for observer bias reducing validity of her research, Gewerts suggested she studied the tribes in a time of change, non replicated findings reduce reliability

WIDER EVALUATION: much of this evidence supports the evolutionary aproach and the tole of nature in determining gender development 

7 of 9

Kohlberg's Gender Consistency Theory

A01: Gender identity (ages 2-3) = child recognises own gender, does not understand it is permenant, Gender Stability (ages 3-7) = understand that gender is permenant but still rely on superficial cues to identify gender, Gender Consistency (ages 7-12) = child values behaviour associated with their gender, identiy with adults, children are active agents in their own development, they collect information this is called self-socialisation

IDA: Nature/nurture debate, set stages are innate as everyone goes through them (nature), however emphasis is placed on socialisation. The role of nature could be determinist, it should allow predictions of gender understanding but this is not always the case

EVIDENCE: Slab and Frey - observed questioned children on gender using pictures, age 3 = no concepts, age 4= gender identity, age 5 = all concepts, Martin and Little - 3-5 year olds, basic gender understanding but strong stereotypes, Cross cultural studies - stages occur in the order suggested

A03: appropriate methodology, demand characteristics, internal validity, cognitive process cannot be empirically measured

WIDER EVALUATION: ages of the stages are too old, gender schema may be better

8 of 9

Martin and Halverson's Gender Schema Theory

A01: Schemas develop around age 2-3 when the child can reliably label gender groups, they simplify the world and organise information, child has two schemas, the "in-group out-group" and the "own sex" schema, schemas allow children to understand the complexity of the world, they cary according to culture

IDA: Nature/nurture debate, the need for a schema is innate suggesting a biological basis but socialisation determins what goes into the schema, we cannot seperate the variables meaning the precise relationship is unclear

EVIDENCE: Martin and Little - children aged 3-5, no understanding of gender stability but strong ideas on gender stereotyping, Martin, Eisenbud and Rose - children aged 4-5, labelled gender neautral toys as boys or girls, children consistently avoided toys that had been labelled as for the opposite sex, Eisenburg - 3-4 year olds use sex role orientated thinking for choosing other childrens toys but not their own

A03: Possibility of demand characteristics, appropriate methodology used, however it cannot be empirically tested reducing the validity

WIDER EVALUATION: explains why children cling to stereotypes, gender flexibility is the result of changes to the schema.

9 of 9


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all Gender resources »