Psychology - Gender

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  • Created by: Emma
  • Created on: 01-05-14 10:57

Biological approach - The Role of Hormones

AO1 - Hormones: A chemical produced by the body that affects cells and organs. Males and females have the same hormones in different quantities.

Oestrogen and Progesterone dominate female development, and Testosterone for males.Males have about 20 times more testosterone than women.

AO2 - Young (1966): Changed sexual behavour of m and f rats by maniuplating amount of hormones received during early development .They displayed 'reversed' behaviour which was unchangeable.

This supports the biological explanation as it shows that an increase in hormone levels leads to an increase in gender-specific behaviour. This shows hormones can directly effect gendered behaviour. BUT Study is on rats which have a completely different genetic biology to humans so cannot necessarily be applied to humans.

AO2 - Ehrhardt and Money (1967): Studied girls whose mothers had taken synthetic hormones to prevent uterine bleeding during pregnanct. The girls became quite tomboyish as preschoolers.

Showsthat hormones given during pregnancy can have a direct impact on gender development of the child. Gendered behaviour also reflects the hormones taken e.g. female hormones make boys less 'boyish'.

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Biological Approach - Genes and Chromosomes

AO1 - Genes/Chromosomes - 6 weeks, a gene on the Y chromosome, the SRY gene, causes the gonads (sex organs) of the embryo to develop as testes.

If the embryo has no Y chromosome, it will not have the SRY gene. Without this, the gonads will develop as ovaries.

AO2 - Imperato-McGinley et al: Family in dominican republic. Of 10 children, 4 changed into muscular men at puberty. One of 23 effected families in that village, 37 children effected in total. Was found they all shared a common ancestor. Supports Biological explanation as it shows that genetics and hormones play a large role. This study provides evidence that there can be a mutant gene passed down generations. BUT it is a case study so findings are limited.

AO2 - Durkin (1995): If sex differences are due to biological differences, we would expect to see these differences before social experiences have an effect. There is no evidence of early differences between baby boys and girls in terms of temperament or behaviour until the age of one which could be explained by parental treatment. Contradicts biological explanation because gender differences shown in research are on children over the age of 10 months. These differences could be due to parenting and not biological facors. More research is needed. BUT Durkin didn't have any empirical evidence, it was just a theory.

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Biological Approach - Brain differences between ma

AO1 - Corpus Callosum: part of the brain which connects both hempspheres. Women's are larger so they can use both sides at the same time better than men can.

Testosterone acts on the hypothalmous. If this didn't happen, it would develop as a female brain.

Oestrogen feminises the brain. There are differences in the hypothalmous. Sexual dimorphic nucleus considerably bigger in males'. Testosterone masculinises the brain in areas such as that linked to spatial skills.

AO2 - Hamann et al (2004): Compared MRI responses of men and women to sexually arousing and neutral photographs. Men showed greater activation in the amygdala and hypothalmous even when females reported greater arousal. Shows that men will always have greater activation in the areas of the brain which deal with sex than women will, showing differences in the brain's usage.

AO2 - Wager et al: Examined 65 neuroimaging studies of responses to emotional stimuli. Women did not show greater activation to emotional stimuli than men. Contradicts biological explanation as it didn't show any bioloigcal difference of emotional areas of the brain between men and women. No gender difference in terms of emotional processing.

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Evolutionary Approach - Mating Strategies

AO1 - Males: produce a lot of sperm so are not limited in reproductive capacity. However, they cannot be sure of paternity, so natural selection ensured males best chance of success is to have as much sex with as many females as possible. When looking for signs of fertility, men look for attractiveness, WHR, youthfulness.

Females: Only produce around 300 eggs throughout their lifetime. They also have to carry children and breasfeed after birth. They invest heavily in their offspring. They therefore need to be very selective. They look for resources, strength and loyalty in men. Females compete with eachother to be seen as more attractive. They use courtship to judge whether potential partners can commit time and resources to them.

AO2 - Mead - Groups in Papa New Ginuea, found that Arapesh tribe were cooperative, gentle and responsive regardless of their gender. In an alternative tribe men and women were violent and aggressive and valued power. A third tribe showed gender role differences and women were dominant, impersonal and managed whereas men were emotionally dependant. This shows gender is not universal as different genders have different roles in each culture, suggesting different cultures have evolved roles differently.

AO2 - Williams and Best - Looked at attitudes to gender roles in different cultures and found universal agreement across cultures about which characteristics are typically masculine and ffem. Men were perceived as masculine and dominant and women were considered caring and sociable.

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Cultural Approach - Influences on Gender

AO1 - Cultural relativism - values and practices of culture from the viewpoint of that culture itself. Imposed Etic - interpreting behaviours in different cultures according to your own which we assume have universal meaning.

Division of Labour.

Third or fourth genders: The Mohave Indians (men mimick menstruation by cutting upper thigh)

                                       Thai Kathoeys (Female other than male genetalia, masculine behaviour)

Challenge the evolutionary perspective that gender is universal; because it shows that gender differs between cultures. Gender can't be universal as there would be the same genders/same number of genders in each culture.

AO2: Mead - (see previous card)

A02: Williams and Best - (see previous card)

AO2: Barry et al - Nurturing seen as dominantly feminine characteristic while self-reliance was seen in the same way for males. (non-westernised cultures). Shows universality in peception of gender roles.

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Social Approach - Influence on Gender Roles

AO1 - Social Learning Theory and Observational Learning. Chilsren observe people, pay attention and then encode the behaviour. May imitate later. ATTENTION - MEMORISED - IMITATE - MOTIVATION. Can be influenced by peers, parents and media.

AO2 - Huston and Wright (1988): Found that in US tv shows men outnumber women 2 or 3:1. I children's TV it is 5:1. Males portratyed as powerful and aggressive. Females as passive, sensual and nurturing. (Huston also suggested that by 18yrs old average child has spent more time watching TV than in a classroom). Supports theory as it shows males appear more frequently and in more aggressive and powerful roles than females. Children can be more easily influenced by TV as SLT suggests it is more invasive.

AO2 - Fagot and Leinbach (1983): Children aged 18-48 months observed for four hours a week for a year in daycare. Boys and girls were positively reinforced by teachers for feminine activities like art and given negative for masculine like motor play. Female peers reinforced feminine play in girls. Male peers gave negative feedback for feminine play. Boyd get mixed signals. Teacher's reinforcement was secondary to that of peers. Shows children are influenced by their peers heavily and act in ways which are gender-approriate perhaps to be accepted by their peers. Supports SLT as shows that children will copy same-sex models, i.e. peers.

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Biosocial Approach - Gender Development

AO1 - Encompasses both biological and social influences. Money and Ehrhardt (1972) believed 'anatomy is destiny.' Biology determines sex of a person, social influences such as peers, media, parents, culture shape the gender identity of the person by determining how they will be treated. They believe the key to gender development is the label a person is given, e.g. boy or girl.

AO2- Schaffer (2004): 200 adults, male and female shown a video of a 9 month old. Some were told it was a boy and told it was a girl. Baby was shown toys like a teddy, doll and jack in the box. Adults asked to describe the emotion displayed by the baby. Those who were told it was a boy described the reaction of the jack in the box as angry, and those who were told it was a girl said it seemed scared. Shows boys are associated with angry and aggressive emotions and behaviours whereas girls are socialised to be vulnerable, innocent and weak.

AO2 - Smith and Lloyd (1978): Adults play with babies in unisex suits and told a consistent or opposite sex to reality. 'Boys' were encouraged to play vigorously and independently but 'girls' were encourage to be more dependant and gentle. This shows that gender labelling can directly effect how a child is perceived or treated.

A02 Mention the case of David Reimer (born a boy but penis was cut off, tried to be brought up as a girld but eventually wanted to be a boy)

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Biosocial Approach - Gender Dysphoria


AO1 - feeling uncomfortable with the gender assigned at birth. Can lead to sex change operation or gender reassignment. Sometimes referred to as transgender or transexual.  Shows how biology alone doesn't necessarily reflect gender. Suggests that gender is not determined at birth but rather during the course of various experiences of growing up. Supports approach because it shows that when a baby is born it is given a biological sex but social influences allow people to treat the child accordingly. It therefore shows gender and sex to be two different things.

AO1 - Biological explanations - Prenatal hormone levels leads to a mismatch between hormones and biological sex. Insufficient level of hormones, or come too late or too early.

AO1 - Psychosocial explanations - Parents of people with gender dysphoria say they encouraged and gave attention to children when they cross-dressed. Family reactions.

AO2- Ehrhardt and Money (see earlier)

AO2 - Rekers - Of 70 boys with GD, none had evidence of biological cases such as altered hormone levels. Common factor of lack of stereotypical male role models.

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Psychological Approach - Kohlberg

AO1 - Cognitive development theory states that gender is learnt from children interacting with their environment, not the other way around. Children's understanding of development develops with age. There are 3 stages. Gender labelling (basic identity, 1.5-3yrs) - recognises self as male or female, e.g. man in a dress. Gender Stability (3-5yrs) Gender will not change, remain into adulthood. Gender constancy (up to 7 yrs) Gender is permanent over time and situation.

AO2 - Slaby and Frey: 55 children aged 2-5 years had constancy assessed. Tested labelling, stability and constancy. Weeks later, children watched a short clip of a man and woman performing gender-stereotypical activities on different sides of the screen. Was found that those with high constancy spent more time watching the same sex model. Was greater for boys than girls. Children know and understand their gender and their gender will not change. Girls perhaps understand more so are willing to look at different sex models as they know theirs will not change

AO2 - Frey and Ruble: Children were told toys were 'girl' or 'boy' toys. Boys who reached gender constancy chose 'boy' toys, even if they were uninteresting. Girls who had reach constancy showed pereferences for girls toys but to a lesser extent. Shows a gender difference in constancy. Children recognise they 'should' play with toys associated with their gender.

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Psychological Approach - Gender Schema Theory

AO1- Children develop a schema related to gender. Process of building a schema is cognitive. Influenced by media, peers, parents etc. In-group schemas concern attitudes and expectations of one's own gender. Out-group schemas are of the opposite gender. Different to CDT because children to not need to understand that gender is permanent for a gender schema to develop.

AO2 - Martin and Little: Found that preschool children have gender stereotypes about what is appropriate for boys and girls before they develop much understanding about gender. Supports as they take in what they see around them about stereotypical gender roles such as job roles etc. Children of a preschool age have already developed a schema.

AO2 - Campbell: Tested infants between 3 and 18 months finding that even the youngest had a preference for watching same-sex babies. Also paid more attention to 'boys toys'. Children from an early age pay more attention to their in-group, negatively identify with their out-group.

AO2 - Bauer: Found boys are aware of, and willing to imitate gender-matched scripts as early as 2 years old. This does not apply to girls of the same age. Shows a limitation of the theory as it shows that it doesn't necessarily apply to the same genders at the same age.

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