What is the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI)? The first systematic attempt to measure androgyny using a rating scale of 60 traits to produce scores across two dimensions: masculinity-femininity and androgynous-undifferentiated.
Bem believes individuals that are androgynous are at an advantage as they can adapt to different situations and this can be useful in life. They are psychologically healthier based on the idea that they are more creative and so more accomplished.
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The BSRI was developed by asking 50 male and 50 female judges to rate 200 traits in terms of how desirable they were and the highest scorers became the 20 masculine and 20 feminine traits.
The BSRI was piloted with over 1000 students and the results corresponded with the participants' own gender identity, suggests high validity. Similar scores when the students were tested a month later, shows high test retest reliability.
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The BSRI is based on norms in America and is therefore culturally biased as each society creates its gender roles. It takes an etic approach. There have been other scales created for other cultures.
The BSRI was developed over 40 years ago and behaviours regarded as typical and acceptable have changed since then and so it may lack temporal validity.
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Gender identity is too complex to be reduce to a single score. Alternatives have been developed. Psychologists have claimed that gender is a much more global concept than suggested by these scales.
In order to understand gender identity more fully, the broader issues should be considered such as the person's interests and perception of their own abilities.
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What are chromosomes? DNA found in the nucleus of living cells in the form of genes, the 23rd pair determines biological sex.
What is a hormone? A chemical substance circulate din the blood that controls and regulates the activity of certain cells or organs.
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The gene SRY (sex determining region Y) on the Y chromosome causes testes to develop in an XY embryo. These produce androgens (male sex hormones) which cause the embryo to become male. Without them, the embryo develops into a female.
What is testosterone? It is a male hormone which controls the development of male sex organs. Research has linked it to aggression.
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What is oestrogen? It is a female hormone that determines female sexual characteristics and the menstrual cycle. It also causes some women to experience increased emotionality and irritability during the menstrual cycle, referred to as PMS.
What is oxytocin? It its a hormone that causes contraction of the uterus during labour and stimulates lactation. It also reduces the stress hormone cortisol and facilitates bonding.
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The influence of chromosomes is supported by the case of David Reimer who lost his penis in an accident during a circumcision procedure. His parents and Dr Money decided to raise him as a girl called Brenda without her knowledge.
However, Brenda still experienced GID and displayed masculine traits. She eventually returned to being David when she found out the truth. This shows the environment alone is not enough to change someone's gender.
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In a double blind study, 43 males were give a weekly injection of testosterone or a placebo and after ten weeks, there were no significant differences in aggression between the two groups.
Studies of biological factors have small sample size of unusual people or are conducted on animals limiting the extent to which generalisations can be made.
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Feminist critiques claim that PMS is a social construction, a way of privileging certain groups over others. The medicalisation of women's lives and the dismissal of their emotions, especially anger. It stereotypes female experience and emotion.
Biological explanations are reductionist and ignore other explanations such as the thought processes underlying gender development (cognitive approach) and childhood experiences (psychodynamic approach).
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There are also strong environmental influences such as family, culture and social norms. The sex of the baby affects how they are treated and so it may be impossible to separate nature and nurture.
What is an atypical sex chromosome patterns? Any sex chromosome pattern that deviates from the usual **/XY formation and is associated with distinct physical and psychological symptoms.
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What is Klinefelter's syndrome? A syndrome affecting males in which the genotype has an extra X chromosome (XXY).
Physical characteristics: reduced body hair, breast development, tall thin physique, small infertile testes, reduced coordination.
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Psychological characteristics: poorly developed language and reading ability. Passive, shy and lack interest in sexual activity. Tend not to respond well to stress and may display problems with memory and problem solving.
What is Turner's syndrome? A chromosomal disorder in which affected women have only one X chromosome (XO).
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Physical characteristics: no menstrual cycle, ovaries don't develop = sterile, no breast development, low set ears and webbed neck. Physically immature.
Psychological characteristics: higher than average reading ability, lower than average performance on spatial, visual memory and mathematical tasks. Socially immature, difficulty fitting in.
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Studying such syndromes gives us a greater insight by comparison of typical and atypical chromosome patterns. We can learn more about the effects of chromosomes and testing can be made more reliable, earlier diagnosis and treatment.
The chromosomal abnormalities and the differences in behaviour may not be a causal relationship. Social immaturity in females may be due to the fact they are treated immaturely by those around them due to appearance and this encourages immaturity.
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It may also affect their performance at school and so it is not easy to separate nature and nurture. Difficult to draw conclusions from such unusual and unrepresentative sample.
The idea of atypical is based on the idea that there are typical gender behaviours. If Turner's individuals are considered socially immature, it means there is a typical level of maturity in most females. Stereotypes of 'normal' behaviour.
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Kohlberg's theory of gender is based on the idea that a child's understanding of gender becomes more sophisticated with age and occurs in three stages.
1. Gender identity: around age 2, the child recognises they are a boy or a girl and possess the ability to label others as such. They are often unaware that sex is permanent.
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2. Gender stability: around age 4, the child understands that their own gender is fixed and they will be male or female when they are older. However, they are often confused by external changes in appearance.
3. Gender constancy: around age 6/7, the child realises that gender is consistent over time and situations. They begin to identify with people of their own gender and start to behave in gender appropriate ways.
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Children at the age of gender constancy begin to seek out gender appropriate role models to identify with and imitate. Once the child has a fully developed and internalised concept of gender, they embark upon an active search for evidence.
A study was conducted where children were presented with split screen images of males and females performing the same tasks. Younger children spent around the same time watch both sexes.
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Children at the gender constancy stage spent longer looking at the model who was the same sex as them, suggesting they are actively seeking gender appropriate models.
Research has found cross cultural evidence of Kohlberg's theory across many countries suggesting that the stages in the theory may be universal.
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However, research has found that children as young as 4 reported feeling good about playing with gender appropriate toys and bad about doing the opposite suggesting they demonstrate gender appropriate behaviour before gender constancy.
This supports the gender schema theory which suggest children begin to absorb gender appropriate information as soon as they identify themselves as either male or female.
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Kohlberg's theory was developed using interviews with children as young as 2/3 who may not have the vocabulary required to express their understanding. They may complex ideas about gender they cannot express. Demand characteristics.
What is a schema? Mental constructs that develop via experience and are used to organise knowledge around a particular topic. Gender schema is an organised set of beliefs and expectations related to gender derived from experience.
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Gender schema help guide a person's understanding of their own gender and gender appropriate behaviour. Once a child establishes gender identity at 2/3, they will begin to search the environment for information that encourages development.
For young children, schema are likely to be formed around stereotypes and these provide a framework that directs experience as well as the child's understanding of itself. By 6, the child has a fixed and stereotypical idea of what is appropriate.
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Due to this, children are likely to misremember or disregard information that doesn't fit in with their existing schema.
Children tend to have a much better understanding of the schemas that are appropriate to their own gender (in groups). This supports the idea that children pay more attention to information relevant to their gender not the opposite sex (out group).
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It is not until children are older that they develop elaborate schemas for both genders rather than their own. In group identity also helps bolster the child's level of self esteem.
Martin and Halverson found that children under 6 were more likely to remember photographs of gender consistent behaviour than gender inconsistent behaviour when tested a week later.
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They tended to change the sex of the person carrying out the inconsistent behaviour supporting the idea that memory may be distorted to fit with existing gender schemas.
This theory accounts for the fact that children hold very fixed and rigid gender attitudes. Information that conflicts with existing schema is ignored. Children display a strong in-group bias by paying more attention to information relevant to them.
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The GST doesn't take into account the effect of culture. This could be viewed at too simplistic as other research shows how important social norms and culture are.
Additionally there are environmental factors like parental influence and the role of punishments and rewards for gendered behaviour. The theory doesn't explain why gender schemes develop in the way that they do.
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Freud's general development theory includes five psychosexual stages and during the third of this stage, the phallic stage is when gender development occurs by going through the Oedipus or Electra complex.
Oedipus complex: a boy develops incestuous feelings towards his mother and jealousy and towards his father. He fears he may be castrated if his father finds out. Resolved by identifying with the father.
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Electra complex: girls experience penis envy and desire their father. They see their mother as a rival and blame her for a lack of a penis. Resolved with identification with mother, replacing the desire for a penis with the desire to have children.
Children of both sexes identify with the same sex parent as a means of resolving the complexes. Boys and girls adopt the gender identity of the same sex parent, known as internalisation.
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Freud's concept of the Oedipus complex and Little Hans case study has been criticised. His theory implies that sons of harsh father should develop a more stronger sense of gender identity because of higher levels of anxiety experienced.
This is not supported by evidence which in facts shows the opposite: boys with more liberal fathers tend to be more secure in their masculine identity.
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Freud's theory relies on having two parents of different genders to resolve the complex effectively. This suggests being raised in a non nuclear family would have an adverse effect on gender development.
However, evidence shows how children from single parent families went on to develop normal gender identities. Research with a sample of 37 children raised by gay or transgender parents found only one had non-typical gender identity.
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Freud has been criticised for his lack of scientific rigour and the concepts he refers to are unconscious in nature and are therefore untestable. His theory is pseudoscientific and cannot be falsified.
His view was also subjective as he mostly used case studies and different psychologists are unlikely to come to the same conclusion. There is no way to replicate his work to see if it is reliable.
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The SLT is a way of explaining behaviour that includes both direct and indirect reinforcement combining learning theory with role of cognitive factors.
Direct reinforcement: children are more likely to be reinforced for gender appropriate behaviour. This is known as differential reinforcement through which a child learns their gender identity.
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Indirect reinforcement: conséquences of another person's behaviour viewed and more likely to be imitated if it is favourable.
Identification and modelling processes. Meditational processes: attention, retention, motivation and motor reproduction.
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Study involved 4-6 month old babies dressed in boys clothes or girls clothes. When interacting with adults, babies assumed to be boys were given a hammer shaped rattle and encouraged to be adventurous and active, girls were handed a cuddly doll.
Often told they were pretty and reinforced for being passive. This suggests gender appropriate behaviour is encouraged at an early age through differential reinforcement and supports SLT.
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Research found that little boys adopted gender specific behaviours quicker than girls because fathers were more likely to reinforce gender appropriate behaviours in their sons. However, this doesn't have an effect on boys who grow up fatherless.
SLT places very little emphasis on the influence of genes and chromosomes and only considers the role of the environment and it is therefore reductionist. David Reimer case shows how the environment cannot override biology.
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The biosocial theory is more favoured now: that there are innate biological differences between boys and girls that are reinforced through social interaction and cultural expectations. Nature and nurture cannot be separated.
Gender roles are a set of behaviours and attitudes that are considered appropriate for one gender and inappropriate for the other.
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If a gender role is consistent across different cultures, we could conclude it is due to innate biological difference between sexes. If some gender role behaviours are culturally specific, we can assume it is due to the influence of shared norms.
Margaret Mead studied gender roles of tribal groups on the island of New Guinea. 1. The Arapesh were gentle and responsive, similar to the Western stereotype of femininity.
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2. The Mundugumor were aggressive and hostile similar to the Western stereotype of masculinity. 3. The Tchambuli women were dominant and men were passive, the reverse of the Western stereotypes.
This suggests there may not be a direct biological relationship between sex and gender and gender roles may be culturally determined. However, some gender roles are universal but also depend on the cultural norms.
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Cross cultural similarities: research found consistent patterns in mate preference in 37 countries across all continents. Women seek men who could offer wealth and resources while men looked for youth and physical attractiveness.
Mead's research has been criticised for being biased and for making generalisations based on a rather short period of study. Some believe she may have manipulated results to fit her theory. No replication, may not be reliable.
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Cross cultural research is typically done by Western researchers who may impose their own culture upon the people they are studying. They assume their methods are universal, imposed etic so the findings may be meaningless.
Research shows aggression is found to be higher in males in most societies whether encouraged it not suggesting hormones like testosterone override social norms.
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However, research suggests aggression is used to distinguish males from females and is therefore a social construct. It is very difficult to separate nature and nurture as they are entwined.
The media provides role models with whom children may identify and want to imitate. Children are likely to select role models of the same sex and who engage in gender appropriate behaviour.
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Research suggests the media provide very clear rigid gender stereotypes: men are independent and ambitious and women are dependent and unambitious. Suggests media plays a role in reinforcing widespread social stereotypes of male and female behaviour.
There is also evidence that children who have more exposure to popular forms of media tend to display more gender stereotypical views. Seeing other people increases child's belief that they are capable of carry out such behaviours in the future.
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Difficult to establish cause and effect as it may be that the media output is due to prevailing social norms about males and females. It may also be that the media is the cause of the norms by depicting men and women in particular ways.
Most children are exposed to the media and so control groups who are beyond the media's influence are not easily available for comparison which would make it easier to see the media's effect.
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In recent years, there have been counter stereotypes in the media which challenge traditional notions. Research found gender stereotyping was reduced when children were shown TV adverts featuring women in non stereotypical roles.
However, it was also found that pre-adolescent boys stereotypes became stronger following exposure to the non traditional models. Such backlash may be explained by the desire to go against the adult view.
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What is gender identity disorder (GID)? Characterised by strong persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one's own sex. Transgender or gender dysphoria.
The brain sex theory suggests GID is caused by specific brain structures that are incompatible with a person's biological sex. Zhou studied the BSTc which is assumed to be fully developed at age 5 and to be 40% larger in males.
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In post mortem studies of six male to female transgender individuals found they had a BSTc of similar size to that of a female.
Research compared 23 MZ twins with 21 DZ twins where one of each pair was diagnosed with GID and found that 39% of MZ were concordant to none of the DZs suggesting genetic factors play a role.
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The psychoanalytic theory suggests GID in males is caused by extreme separation anxiety before gender identity has developed. The child fantasies of symbiotic fusion with the mother to relieve the anxiety.
The child becomes the mother and adopts a female gender identity. Research found in interviews with GID males, they were seen to display overly close mother son relationships that leads to greater female identification and confused gender identity.
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The cognitive explanation suggests two pathways of gender development, the dual pathway theory. The first pathway acknowledges the development of gender schema which direct gender appropriate behaviour and attitudes as part of normal development.
Second personal pathway in which the child's gender attitudes are affected by their activity. Their personal interests become more dominant than the gender identity and this in turn influences the gender schema. Development of non sex typed schema.
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It is claimed that the BSTc is fully formed at age 5 however research found that transgender hormone therapy did affect the size of the BSTc so differences in the BSTc may be due to hormone therapy than the cause of GID.
Twin studies are inconclusive as the concordance rates are not very high and never 100%. It is also very difficult to separate nature and nurture as twins may influence each other are share the same environment. Small sample sizes.
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Biological explanations are reductionist and reduce complex conditions and behaviour to a simple genetic/hormonal level. Other psychological or social factors are ignored.
An interactionist approach may be best by combining different levels of explanation to explain GID, a complex condition that is unlikely to be explained by a single influence.
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The BSRI was developed by asking 50 male and 50 female judges to rate 200 traits in terms of how desirable they were and the highest scorers became the 20 masculine and 20 feminine traits.


The BSRI was piloted with over 1000 students and the results corresponded with the participants' own gender identity, suggests high validity. Similar scores when the students were tested a month later, shows high test retest reliability.

Card 3


The BSRI is based on norms in America and is therefore culturally biased as each society creates its gender roles. It takes an etic approach. There have been other scales created for other cultures.


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Card 4


Gender identity is too complex to be reduce to a single score. Alternatives have been developed. Psychologists have claimed that gender is a much more global concept than suggested by these scales.


Preview of the front of card 4

Card 5


What are chromosomes? DNA found in the nucleus of living cells in the form of genes, the 23rd pair determines biological sex.


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