Ouline and evaluate biological explanations of gender development

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  • Created by: sabrina
  • Created on: 22-05-15 18:02

Outline and evaluate biological explanations for gender development (8+16 marks)

Neural and hormonal mechanism can affect gender development as it influences the way that the brain develops. Before birth, babies are exposed to both oestrogen and testosterone. It is the relative balance of those hormones that affect the way that a person’s gender develops. Testosterone can speed up some parts of development and slow down other parts. Males are thought to have a thicker right hemisphere of the brain which gives them better visuo-spatial skills which explains why men are seen to be better map readers. Women on the other hand, have a better connectivity of the brain which makes them better listeners and more empathetic. Testosterone also makes men partake in more risk taking behaviour iswell. Twisk and Stacey found that most serious accidents caused by one person going too fast were caused by men. They also found that women were more likely to be involved in minor collisions.

A Strength of the neural and hormonal explanation of gender development is that there is research evidence to support the idea that men and women have different brain structures. Shaywitz and Shaywitz studied men and women who had an MRI scan while carrying out a language task. They found that men had more activity in the right hemisphere while women had better connectivity. This is a strength as it supports the idea that the way that our brain is structured affects our behaviour as a male or female. A further strength of the supporting study is that it is highly scientific and is also an objective measure. It is very unlikely that an individual would be able to manipulate the results of an MRI scan. Therefore, there is evidence to support the fact that our brains are different


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