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  • Created on: 29-12-12 14:26

Kohlberg-gender devlopment

Kohlberg's theory claims that our gender development is the same across cultures and is therefore universa, this idea is supported by research.

For example, Munroe found that children  across a variety of cultures had  the same sequences of stages on the ewaay to gender identity.

This suggests that the gender stages are innate reliable.

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Kohlberg-gender development

Kohlberg's idea that children  seek out sasme sex models at a certain age is also supported by research.

For example, Slaby and Frey found  that  those in the high gender consistency paid more attention to the same sex models in the film.

This suggests that we leaanr from everywhere not just parents.

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Kohlberg-gender development

Some children play with both gender associated toys and do not differentiate until later.

This shows that Kohlberg's ages of the  stages need to be revised and may not be accurate.

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Kohlberg-gender development

Certain things  ignore the social learning theory.

For example, it does not include all factors such as parents.

Therefore, this suggests that the theory is reductionist.

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Kohlberg-gender development

Gender development can't be just viewed using biology as nurture and environments can affecct gender development.

Interactions between both nature and nurtute may be better explained.

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Bem-gender development

The  idea that information should be distorted to fit the schema is supported by research.

For example, Martin and Halverson showed 5and6 year olds pictures of schema consistent and schema inconsistent behaviour and found that schema consistent pictures were remembered by children more  than non-consistent.

This suggests  that they were not old enugh to make conclusions about the opposite sex and were using schemas to make sense of situations.

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Bem-gender development

The idea that children categorise information into gender schemas is also supported by research.

For example, Bradbard et al  presented children aged 4-9 with gender neutral objects such as pizza cutters and said that they werre either boy or girl objects. They found that children remebered which were boy objects and which were girl ones. This was still evident 3 years later.

This suggests that children do use and update their schemas.

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Bem-gender development

Further research  by Liben and Sinorella also found that children show gendr related bias in recall, indicating the  use of gender schemas.

For example, childdren were more likely to remember pictures and words related to their gender.

This supports gender schema theory because it shows that the children are using and modifying their gender schemas.

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Bem-gender development

There is evidence against  nurture.

For example, David Renna waas born a male but raised a female. However he was deelply unhappy and it showed that this did not  work as eventually he killed himself.

This shows that the theory is reductionist.

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social role theory-gender development

Eagly and Wood SRT was put forward as an alternative to the evolutionary approach however, some researchers think that it is uneccessary to replace it.

For example, whilst there is no doubt that social factors do play a role in gender role development, the evolutionary theory can still explain these as part of the evolution of the human race in general.

Therefore, it could  be argues that SRT is unnecessary as evolutionary theory can still offer a perfectly  comprehensive explanation of this.

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social role theory-gender development

Luxen criticised the theories explanation of the role of selective pressure.

For example, he argues that behvaiour is at least as important as physical characteristics and that therefore selective pressure would impact on behaviour to create both physical and psychological sex differences.

This suggests that SRT might be incorrect in arguing that selective pressures/biology does not determine our roles and psychological traits eg SRT places too much emphasis on nurture.

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social role theory-gender development

Luxen also claims  that socialisation does not always explain all gender related behaviour.

For example, very young children and even animals can displaay sex typed behaviour before  they have been exposed to socialisation.

This suggests  that SRT may be incorrecct  in assuming the biology only determine out physical traits.

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social role theory-gender development

Eagly and Wood support their idea that social roles are the driving in psychological sex differences through their review of Buss.

For example, they found that when women had  higher status in societies and male-female division of labour was less pronounced sex difference in mating preferences became less pronounced.

This suggests that social roles are the driving force behind sex differences once physical constraints are removeed as SRT suggests.

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Evolutionary theory-gender development

The predicted sex difference in how men and women advertise themselves to the oppostie sex has been confirmed  by research.

For example, Waynforth and Dunbar reviewed personal ads and  found that 44% of men sought a physical attractive partner compared with just 22% of women.

Therefore,  the predicted difference in what men and women look in a partner is reliable. This is also reflected in our gender roles.

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evolutionary theory-gender development

Research into the division of laabour has in turn led to research which has increased our  understanding of why humans survived by Neanderthals did not.

For example,  the Neanderthals diet was based on mainly meat  which they needed  to eat a lot of because of their size,  both men and women  hunted which meant that when hunting was  unsuccessful, the whloe group would starve.  It also left offspring unattended and  vulnerable.

This suggests that the evolutionary theory  has contributed not only to our understanding og gender roles. but also to the evolution of the human nrace in general, making a positive conttribution to science.

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evolutionary theory-gender development

A major criticism of the evolutionary explanatioon of gender role is that it iis deterministic.

For example, in terms of gender roles, this theory says that our genes specify that males will take on the role of hunter whereas the women will take on the role of child rearer.

This deterministic view fails to achknowledge that our genes only predispose us to behaving in a certain way and fails to acknoweldge other factors such as socialisation.

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evolutionary theory-gender development

The evolutionary theory has also been criticised for being speculative.

For example, the apperance of gender related division of labour may be a plausible explanation for the disappearnace of Neanderthals but it may not be the only or correct explanation, evolutionary psychologists and scientisits can enver be 100% certain.

This suggests that the theory is bilogically reductionist as it fails to consider otther explanations such as external factors like  the ice age.

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evolutionary theory-gender development

Apparent support for the evolutionary theory of  gender role development comes from the use of cross-cultural studies.

The main problem  with using cross-cultural research to support the theory is that different cultures have varying gender roles and  gender related behaviour.

This suggests that the research may not  be generalisaable to all cultures gener roles and therefore may not be representative.

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genes-gener development

Research by Reiner et al indicates the vital role  that our biology plays in determining our gender development.

For example, Reiner studied 16 genetic males born with almost no penis. Two were raised as makes and remaines as males, the remaining 14 were raised as females. Of these 14, 8 reassigned themselves as males by the age  of 16.

Such research suggests  that despite the efforts of nurture the biology of these men prevailed, indicating the powerful influnce of our genetics on gender development.

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genes-gender development

Not all evidence is clear cut  about the role of biology in gender development and dthe extent to which it is driven  and determined by our nature.

For example, Collaer et al reviewed studies into biology and  gender and found inconsistent findings.

This suggests  that research into the roles of genetic is unreliabe and more research needs to be done. If findings are inconsistent then there must be other factors involved.

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genes-gender development

Biological explanations of gender devleopment have been criticised for being simplistic.

For example, biological explanations suggest that our gender development is driven  purely by our geness and ignores the role of nurture.

This  suggests that is is  biologically deterministic. Research has also shown that  this is not the case, in fact gender development appears to be a complex interaction of genetic hormomes and socialisation.

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hormones-gender development

There is research evidence to support the claim that biology has an influence on gender development.

For example, Knickmeyer et al studied the foetal testosterone levels of the amniotic fluid in 35 males and 23 femals. When their mothers were questioned about their development at 5 years old, FT was negatively correlaated  with quality of social relationships and positively correlated.

This suggests  that testosterone might negatively affect social relationships and so may have an impact on the male gender role.

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hormones-gender development

Much of the research into the impact of hormones on gender development has been based on the use of case studies.

For example, case studies are often very unique cases and  based only on one individual.

This suggests that they cannot  be  generalised to the wider population and may not be a valid picture of the role of hormones in gender development anyway.

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hormones-gender development

Some researchers also suggest that hormones may not be as big an influence on gender development.

For example, self-fulfilling prophecy with reference to the alleged role of hormones in female menstrual cycles-women expect to feel moody and depressed at a specific time of the month and therefore might make them more sensitive than other times.

This suggests that although hormones do play an impact role, what we expect in terms of gender devleopment and gender role is also vital.

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Social context-parents

There is supporting research for the claim that parents are an important social influencce on gender role development.

For example, Smith and Lloyd observed mothers playing with an infant who was either presented as a boy or as a girl. The mothers not only seleccted 'gender appropriate' toys but also responded more actively when a boy showed  increased motor activity.

This suggests  that parents play a role in determining a childs gender role as  theyy influencce the children into playing with certain toys and acting a certain way.

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Social context-parents

There is also further supporting research evidence for the idea that this parental input actually doess impact on a childs observable behaviour.

For example,Fagot found that parents  who show  the clearest patterns of differentiated reinforcement have children who are the wuickest to develop stronge gender preferences.

This suggests  that the theory that the way parents treat boys and girls has an impact on how quickly thier gender roles develop.

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Social context-parents

The theory only considers  the social influences on a childs gender development. It does not consider the role of genes and hormones may play.

This suggests  that the theory is reductinistt and to get an accurate unerstanding of gender development we must consider the interaction between  the two.

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Social context-peers and school

The view of psychologists such as Maccoby that peers are  the prime socialising agency of gender development has come under criticism.

For example,other psychologists points out  that peers are unlikely to have an impact in early childhood  when important apects of gender development are taking place.

This suggests that, rather than being the drive behind gender role development and gender role steryotypes, socialisation with peers merely reinforces  this.

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Social context-peers and school

The claim that peers only reinforcce behaviours and values  which already exists is supported by research.

For exmaple, Lamb et al observed preschoo children  at play and found that when male-typed behaviour was reinforced in girls, the ebehaviour only continued for a short time whereas in boys it lasted much longer.

This suggessts that gender development must  be affected by other factors such as genes. As children are less influenced by opposite sex peers.

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Social context-peers and school

Asie from reinforcing gender appropriate behaviour, teachers are also vital role models for children.

For example, Bandura  found that children imitated adult gender appropriate behaviour.

This suggests that children look to peers and teachers to socially learn gender typed behaviour.

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Social context-media

Not all evidence is clear cut about the impact of media on a child's gender role develpment.

For example, Johnstone et al found inthe freestyle project, there  was a series of TV programmes in which non-traditional opportunties and activities were modelled. They produced significant attitude changes away from gender role steryotypes and  were still present  9 months later.

This suggests that it  is not cleaar whether the media reinforces gender role or other things.

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Social context-media

Explaning the development of a childs gender role with reference to the media has been accused of being simplistic.

For example, Durkin states that it is too simplistic to state that because the entertainment media is full of traditional contributing to gender-role dvelopment.

This suggests that this is environmentally reductionist as  it does not take into account biological factors.

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Social context-media

Some psychologists argue that rather than being the main agent of socialisation when it comes to our gender toless, the media merely reindforces that status quo.

For example,  Signorelli et al examined over 30 years of TV programming and dfound very little change in gender stereotypes.

This suggests that media isnt the main factor for learning and that there is other factors  involved.

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Cross cultures

Barry et all studied 110 non-industrialised socities and  found that in 75% of these socities, there was more pressure on girls than on boys to be nuruting, with non showing the opposite pattern. Responsibility was considered more important in girls  than  in boys in 55% of the socities, with 10% showing the opposite. The majority thought girls should be more obdeient than boys, only a small majority showed  the opposite. The majority put more pressure on boys than on girls to achieve, a very small minority showed  the opposite. The majority regarded self-reliance as more important to boys, no socities regarded it as more important for girls.

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Cross cultures

Wood et al studied cross cultural findings relating to gender roles obtained from 181 non-industrialised culturess. Men were dominant in 67% of these,  especially  where there was a lot of waar and men's economic contribution was greater than that of women. Neither sex was  dominant in 30% of cultures and  3% had dominant women. Men had  a primary role in obtaining food where it depended on hunting or fishing. Women had the main role though when it involved gathering. This implies that environmental and practical facotrs might influence gender role develoment in some places.

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Cross cultures

Williams and Best explored gender steryotypes in 30 different national  cultures. 3 in Africa,  10 in Europe, 7 in Asia, 2 in North America and 6 in South Africa. In most cultures men were dominant, aggressive and autonomous. Women were more nurturing and interested in affiliation. This suggests  that the steryotype of the male role of  instrumental/practical and  the femal of expressive is widespread.

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