Sex and Gender Core Theory + Evaluation

This is NATURE.

The biological approach suggests that gender is decided at conception. Chromosomes effect the hormones we have. The XY (in males) leads to testosterone where as the ** (in females) leads to oestrogen. The testosterone makes men more confident, agressive and gives them better spatial and mathematical skills. Oestrogen however makes females more caring, shy and have better communictaion skills. It supports evolution as it suggests we have evolved certain traits to help survival and reproduction e.g females are more caring to look after their children.

P-ignores nurture,E-evidence also suggests upbringing effects gender, C-reductionist.

P-suggests all males and females should act the same, E- wide range of behaviors in one sex, C- ignores individual differences and is reductionist. 

P-suggests gender roles cannot change over time, E-individuals can be a tomboy when younger but grow to be very feminine, C- lacks validity and is reductionist.

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Sex and Gender Key Concepts

Sex- biological term tellung us whether someone is male or female and is decided at conception.

Gender- psychological term and is more to do with how people behave and thinks.

Masculinity- typical male traits e.g being agressive, better at sport etc. 

Femininity - typical female traits e.g being sensitive, playing with dolls etc. 

Androgyny- both masculine and feminine traits and behaviors.

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Sex and Gender Alternative Theory

This is NURTURE.

The psychodynamic approach suggests that between the ages of 3 and 6 a child develops a strong sexual desire for their parent of the opposite sex. 

In boys this is the Oedipus complex. Boys fear their fathers finding out about their desire for their mothers. they are afraid that they will cut their penises off (castration anxiety). Boys resolve this by indetifying with their fathers and developing a male gender. 

In girls this is known as the Electra complex. Girls desire their fathers as they desire a penis (penis envy). They blame their mothers for not having one and think that they have already been castrated. They realise they will never have a baby and instead develop a desire for a baby (penis substitute). Girl then recognise they are i n the same position as their mother and so identify with them. This is when they develop a female gender identity.

It occurs in the unconscious mind and if a parent is not around or a weak model, the gender doesnt develop properly. 

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Sex and Gender Core Study

Diamond and Sigmundsons case study on Bruce/Brenda.The aim was to show that gender cannot be socialised. They researched Bruceat a routine circumcision had his penis cut off. A psychologist called Money said that you can raise him as a girl and so at 17 months old he had his testes removed. He was re-named Brenda and was raised as a girl. 

At first Money was heavily involbed claiming she took on the role well and enjoyed playing with girls toys and believed she was the same as other girls. However at puberty there were complications. She often needed hormone injections and later reported that she found females attractive, always wanted to play with her brother and his toys and felt like man inside. Her parents finally told her the truth and she changed back into David. In conclusion gender is a product of NATURE not nurture. 

P-experimenter bias, E-money wanted results that supported his theory, C-low in validity.

P-sample size was too small,E-only one person, C-lacks generalisability.

P-Unethical, E- Brenda was caused a lot of distress, C-Breaks guidleines.

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Sex and Gender Applications

Equal Oppurtunities, 

In education- Many research shows that there is positive discrimination to create better oppurtunites for a disadvantaged sex. For example offering boys more literary help and girls more mathmatical help. 

Females are doing better at exams which is known as the Gender Gap. 

Girls may need more help in mathematics and need coaching in PE whereas boys need a new way of testing, potentially verbally.

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Memory Key Concepts

Input- Taking information in by senses into our brain

encoding- Making sense of the information provided

storage- storing the info

retrieval- collecting the info from the brain for use

output- using the info

Availabilty probloems- info isnt there/ has decayed

accessibility problems- cannot get to info

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Memory Core Theory

Multi store Model and is NATURE

Suggests our memory has different levels with different durations and capacitys. 

Info is picked up and taken into the sensory memory for a few seconds. It is displaced if we do not pay attention to it. It then goes into the short term memory for around 20 seconds and has a capacity of 7(+/-2) chunks of info. If it isnt rehearsed it decays or is displaced. If it is rehearsed then it is taken to the long term memory which lasts minutes to a life time. The capacity is unlimited.


P-assumes everyones memory works in the same way, E- some people have different capacities and difficulties with memory, C- reductionist and lacks generaliseability. 

P-over simplifies a difficult conecpt, more complex than  just three stores, reductionist.

P-suggests we have to rehearse to get stuff in to LTM, E- memories or breathing etc isnt rehearsed, C- lacks validity.

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Memory Alternative Theory

Levels of Processing

Shallow processing- only taking in part of the info as it does not interest us or is delivered when we are not paying attention.

Deep processing- processing info deeper and getting more understanding of what you are trying to memorise as you have more interest or are paying full attention.

Football Study-

A group of participants were asked to memories real football scores. Half were football scores, half were not. 

Results showed football fans were better at recalling the scores as they processed them deeply compared to non football fans who processed them shallowly. 

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Memory Core Study

Terrys study to show a persons memeory is effected by time and space. He used 39 students It was a lab experiment with repeated measures. He used 10 month old TV commercials each 30 seconds long and for different products. In one condition the participants were asked to recall the adverts immediatley after watching them however in the second condition they were asked to recall the informations after a written task for three minutes. 

The results showed a serial postion effect. In the first condition there was both a primacy and recency effect shown. In the second only a primacy. This is though to be because many rehearsed the first few however the last and middle ones were pushed out.


P- low in ecological validity, E- unlikely to have to recall 15 commercials, C- cannot be generalised.

P-occupation bias, E- all participants were students, C- lacks generalisability.

P-demand characteristics, E- may have worked out aim due to repeated measures design, C-inaccurate results. 

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Memory Applications

Research into memory aids can be used in eductaion.

Use of cues-

When we have learnt and transferred something into the LTM, cues can help aid memory. It helps accessability problems and help trigger lost info. They can be used formally as memory aids in police reconstructions or informally when we retrace footsteps. They can also be used in  eductaion during questioning, colour coding or mnemonics. 

Mind Mapping-

Help us to revise as they reflect the way our memory is organised. 

Use of Imagery-

Relating words to imageds helps us to recall and doubles chances of remebering it. 

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Attachment Key Concepts

Seperation protest- how upset a child is when their primary care giver leaves

Stranger anxiety- how afriad a child is in the prescence of a stranger. 

Secure attachment- signs of distress when mother leaves but also easily comforted. Stranger comforts child however child prefers mother.

Insecure avoidant attachment- did not pay much attention to mother when playing, when she left or when she returned. They were easily comforted by stranger.

Insecure ambivulant attachment- did not leave mother yet when seeking her they would also resist her. They were extremely distressed when their mother left and were hard to comfort by a stranger. 

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Attachment Core Theory

This theory is NATURE. 

Bowlby suggested that during the critical period (first three years) a child develops a bond with one key figure (monotropy) and this is usually the mother. He suggested that privation ( where a bond never forms) can lead to irreversable psychological effects and deprivation (child looses a bond, caregiven gone for more that one week) also can. These can include: agressive, delinquiency, dwarfism, intellectual ******, depression,dependency anxiety,affectionless psychopath and socially malajusted. 

P-bowlby believeed in monotropy by critics say you can develop more than one bond,E-bonds with siblings, grandparents etc., C- not accurate

P-critical period may be too extreme, E-more of a sensitive period, C-not valid

P-bowlby said effects pof deprivation were irreversable, E-evidence suggests this is not the case, C-limited explanation. 

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Attachment Alternative Theory

The behaviourist theory is NURTURE.

This suggests infants learn to attach to people through reinforcement. If a consequence is positive, the person will repeat the behavior whereas if it is negative then they will not. 

If an infant interacts with its parent (smiling, cooing, crying) the child will get attention which rewards the child. The caregiver will also provide food and comfort which is corewarding. 

This reinforces the bond between the caregiver and infant meaning the attachment behaviours become more common.

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Attachment Core Theory

Hazen and Shaver-

It was to investigate attachemnt types in infancy and their effects on adult life. It was done through a questionnaire in a newspaper in the usa and people aged 14-82 replied. Firstly they measured childhood attachment types through a checklist. They then measured the participants attitude to their significant other. This was assesed through multi-choice questions. 620 replies were analysed. They found that adults with SA had happy relationships and were least likely to be divorced. Adults with IAVA were afraid of intimacy and prone to jelousy. Adults with IAMA were prone to obsession and most likey to get divorced .

P-It is open to social desirability, E-responders may have given answers on relationship that reflects well on them, C- not entirley truthful.

P-self-selecting group leading to bias, E- more appealing to females, C-gender bias sp lacks generaliseablity. 

P-may have caused distress, E- asking questions about personal relationships require quite personal answers, C- doesnt stick to ethical guidlines so should not happen again. 

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Attachment Applications

Care of children

In hospitals- Research showed the more time that the baby spent with their mother after birth the better the relationship. Because of this hospitals encourage bonding. Bbaies used to be kept in a seperate room however nowdays they stay at the mothers bedside. Also straight after birth the baby and mothers make skin to skin contact.


Care in families- Parents are basically left to their own devices however social services for example may also intervene if needs be. 

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Obedience Key Concepts

Obedience- following orders or commands from people in authority.

Authority- a level of status or power

Defiance- resisting orders or commands from people in authority

Denial of Responsibility- blamimg actions on higher authroity rather than accepting it yourself ( passing the blame).

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Obedience Core Theory

This states obedience is due to the SITUATION we are in.Setting- this is the physical environment that something takes place. Milgra  origninally carried out his experiment in Yale uni where ther was 65% obedience rate however this dropped when he performed it in a ran down office (47.5).

Culture- the country/ region can effect obedience due to differnt laws and expectations. Milgrims experiment was carried out in a variety of places: USA-65%,Australia-40%,Austria-80% and Italy- 85%.

Punishment- if we will be punished then we are more likely to obey, in Hoflings study many of the nurses said that they feared loosing their jobs if they did not do as asked. 

Consensus- when everyone agrees/disagrees on something which effects your behaviour.

P-research lacks ecological validity,E-set in labs,C-demand characteristics

P-reseach has bad ethics, E-caused distress, C- goes against human rights and shouldnt happen.

P-No consideration of personality-E-ignores feelings etc, C- reductionist. 

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Obedience Alternative Theory

Ardonos DISPOSITIONAL THEORY- Authoritarian Personality.

As children they had a very harsh and critical parenting style. They form an unconscious hostility that they cannot show their parents. When they become adults they repect authority and the hostility is displaced onto those weaker than them or who they do not fear. Traits include:



O- obedient

I-intolerant of uncertainty


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Obedience Core Study

Bickmans field experiment.

Bickman asked 153 people on the streets of brooklyn. He used 3 confederates dressed as a civillian, milkman and guard. They each asked three orders: please give this man a dime, oick up this litter and stand on the other side of the bus stop. Obedience rates in the guard were 89%, milkman 57% and civillian 33%.

P-field experiment, E- no demand characteristics and natural behaviour, C-high ecological validity

P-oppurtunity sample, E-people would have been in a certain area for a similar reason, C- lotsof bias

P- issue gaining consent and right to withdraw, E-not aware that they are even in a study, C-brecahes human rights

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Obedience Applications

Keeping order in society and institutions-

Hierarchy means person at the top has most authority and going down. It allows order to be kept in institutions such as prisons schools and armed forces.


Guards wear a uniform to give them status and set them apart from prisoners whereas prisoners wear uniform to ***** them of their identity. They also use punishments. Large groups are also often split up to prevent a consensus forming.

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Phobia Key Words

Atypical behaviour- behaviour considered abnormal as it applies to a minority of people

Typicla behaviour- bhevaiour considered normal as it applies to a majority of people

Phobias- an intense, perisitant, irrational fear of an object, person, place, situtaion or activity resulting in a compelling desire to avoid and escape it.

Agoraphobia- fear of open spaces

Social phobia- fear of embarrasssing yourslef in a public place

School Phobia- fear of school

acrophobia- fear of heights

arachnaphobia- fear of spiders

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Phobia Core Theory

This Theory is NURTURE and suggest we learnt through Classical (association) and operant (consequences) conditioning.

We learn phobias as we make an association between an unconditioned stimulous and an uncondition repsonse with a neutrual stimulous. 

P-ignores that people think, E-suggests only observable behaviour is important but you cannot see thoughts, C-reductionist.

P-ignores influence of other on us, E- we may imitate people that we trust, C- not entirley accurate

P-ignore nature, E- suggested we have fear for survival, C- reductionist. 

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Phobia Alternative Theory


This suggests that all humans/animals aim to survive long enough to reproduce. Fear is instinctive as it allows us to survive . Som e things are more threatening than others and they are more common as phonias. We instinctively fear things that are least like us in shape as they seem more likely to attack us. We are not born with phobias however, just a preparedness to fear certain objects.

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Phobia Core Theory

Watson and Raynors Lab experiment-

Watson and rayner tested 9 month old albert. A rat was offered to albert and as he went to stroke it Watson crept behind him and hit a hammer against a steel pole. This happened 7 times over the next 2 weeks. By the end even just the rat caused fear to Albert.

P-lab experiment so lacks ecological validity, E- Unnatural to be tought a phobia, C- lacks usefulness and cannot be applied to everyday life.

P-sample is too small, E- only used little albert, C- cannot generalised

P- caused distress, E- being taught is particularly distressing, C- breaks ethical guidelines and shouldnt be repeated

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Phobia Applications


Flooding- the [person is fully imeresed in their worst fear. They begin full fear however the body has to return to its normal state as it cannot be that aroused for long periods of time. They begin to feel calmer and now associuate this with their fear. 

Systematic Desensitization- more ethical as person is gradually made to face their fear.

Implosion Therapy- imagine worst fear

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