Social influences on gender part 2


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  • Created by: Jamie
  • Created on: 09-01-12 21:52

Social influences on gender Family Influence

Psychodynamic approach

  •  Some theories state that childern who don't have a strong same sex role model can develop gender dysphoria.
  • For example - a boy with a close relationship with his mother by an absent father, according to social learning theory, should develop gender dysphoria from imitating his mother and learning her gender role.
  • Reiker studied gender disturbed boys who had a history of cross sex behaviour such as cross dressing. He found a majority of them had no father figure.
  • This supports social learning theory tha GD is caused by the absense of a same sex role model.
  • Also the theory that we take on the role of a loved one who has died, to keep them alive.
  • De Ceglie studied Jamies, whose grandmother died and he developed gender dysphoria after taking on her role in the house.
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Social influences on gender role parents

Smith and Lloyd

  • Did - Dressed young infants in unisex snow suits and allocated them names that may or may not have correlated with their assigned gender.
  • they then gave the adults a toy hammer or a cuddley toy and told them to interact with the child.
  • Found that the adults altered their bahviour depending on whether they thought they were playing with a boy or a girl. Boys were said to have been handled more roughly or 'jiggled' more and were more likely to be given the hammer to play with.
  • Shows that adults will change their behaviour depending on what sex they think they baby is. And that boys and girls are treated very differently even from an early age.
  • Evaluation - adults were not given a realistic choice of toys. Also a jiggle is very subjective and may have been observed more with boys because it was expected more. no cause and effect was established. 
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Social influences in gender - Media


  • Claimed that the more T.V children watch the stronger their gender stereotypes. 
  • Based on correlational data so we can't gather cause and effect.


  • Found that teenage boys have fairly fixed ideas about masculinity. this was based on interview with the boys and analysis of posters in their rooms.
  • Sample size was fairly small
  • Interviews are failry unreliable becasue people tend to give answers to make themelves sound better, demand characteristics.


  • Found teenage magazines portrayed girls as un able to solve problems, mainly romantic.
  • this suggests that girls are given models that encourage them to be dependant on a man.
  • However it could be that the magazine appeals to those types of girls who have the characteristics already.
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Social influences on gender - Peers and Debate


  • Set up a summer camp and observed how children behaved when lleft alone.
  • found that they seperated themselves based on gender and anyone who crossed the gender divide was bullied.
  • Shows that children will play soley with their own gender.
  • Evaluation - Ethical problems, allowed children to be bullied and left a huge potential for harm. Invented an unrealistic world with no adult influence, so it's impossible tog ather valid data so lacks ecological validity.

Debate - Nature Vs Nurture

  • research into this contributes to the nature nurture debate by presenting some strong evidence that gender behaviour is a result of learning. Mention Smith and Llyods research here, the parents had been brought up to treat boys and girl differently.
  • Reductionist - ignores the influence of biology and nature.
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