Psychology Unit 3: Gender


Biological: AO1 - Genes

  • Genes: A person's biological sex is determined at the time of conception by the father's sperm. If the female's egg is to develop into a female, the father's sperm will contribute an X chromosome (**), and if the egg is to develop into a male the father's sperm will contribute a Y chromosome (XY). The other X chromosome is from the egg, from the mother.
  • Up until 6 weeks, all foetuses contain identical gonads (sex glands). These gonads have the potential to develop into ovaries or testes.
  • The Mullerian System: Which has the potential to develop into female sex organs.
  • The Wolffian System: A precursor to male sex organs.
  • The Y chromosome controls the development of the glands that produce male sex organs. In th 6th week of pre-natal development the Y chromosome produces a protein which causes the undifferentiated gonads to become testes and sets the path of male development of the foetuses. If the protein isn't present, the gonads will develop into ovaries.
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Biological: AO1 - Hormones

  • Once the gonads have devleoped, further sexual development is triggered by hormones.
  • If testes are present, then male hormones (androgens) are released and the Wolffian system develops while the Mullerian system shrivels up.
  • If androgens are not present, the Mullerian system develops and the Wolffian system shrivels. No release of hormones from the ovaries is needed for the female sex organs and reproductive system to develop.
  • There are two different androgens responsible for masculinisation: testosterone and dihydrotestosterone. Pre-natally they influence the development of the male sex organs and they masculinise the brain.
  • Post-natally they are responsible for activating the sex organs during puberty.
  • Pre-natally it is thought that these hormones influence the brain. Research suggests that they make the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) 2.47 times greater in males.
  • Other research suggests that testosterone slows down the development of some parts of the brain while speeding up others - such as the right hemisphere. This may explain why men are better at spatial tasks and women are better at verbal ones, since the key language area is in the left side of the brain, but the right hemisphere is concerned with spatial ability. 
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Biological: AO2

  • IDA: This theory focuses on nature in the nature/nurture debate. This is because the explanation presumes that gender is caused entirely by biological factors, without taking environmental influences into account. The problem is that it is difficult to establish the exact role that genes and hormones play in gender. This is because it is impossible to experimentally manipulate biological gender in humans, so we can't test the theory scientifically. Therefore, all evidence tends to be based on case studies and animal studies.
  • David Reimer: Was raised as a girl after a medical accident. By the age of 13 he was suffering from depression and he was unhappy about being raised as a girl. By 14, he decided to revert to being a male. His exposure of testosterone in the womb, led to his brain being masculinsed which meant he couldn't change into a female, even though he was raised as one.
  • Baron-Cohen: Found that testosterone is associated with social development, language, and empathy and that foetal testosterone is associated with systemizing attention to detail and a number of autistic traits. This suuports the theory as it shows testosterone can have a big influence on the brain, and develop some parts more than other parts.
  • Diamond: Injected pregnant rats with testosterone, and the offspring had male genitals and attempted to mate with other female rats. This supports the theory as it shows that due to the testosterone, the female offspring acted like male rats.
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Biological: AO3

  • Empirical evidence from the case of David Reimer can be criticised for containing a methodological flaw.Being a case study the sample only consisted of one individual and thus with such a small sample the findings cannot be generalised to the wider population. Reducing the population validity of the study as a result, the internal validity of the theory is also weakened as the study acting as supporting empirical evidence is now weakened.
  • The theory can be considered deterministic. The assumption assumes that genes lead to a sex specific genitalia which results in a masculine or feminine gender identity. The theory therefore fails to consider the role of free will in our choices of our behaviours and what we choose to define as appropriate gender identity for each sex. As it fails to provide other explanations other than gene related assumptions, the theory cannot explain gender development of all individuals and thus decreases the theorys external reliability.
  • Probelsm could occur if we proposed that gender development is caused entirely be biological factors as this could lead to discrimination and will lead to males being fixed as being naturally better at certain roles, whereas women would be expected to not to be good at the same roles.
  • We can not rule out nurture because the case studies will have lots of extraneous variables seeing as the research doesn't control the study, meaning that nurture could influence gender more than we think.
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Biosocial: AO1

  • It suggests that biology is the foundation on which social factors are built, but the biosocial approach emphasises the social factors as the main cause of gender differences.
  • The innate characteristics of a newborn baby (including their sex) affect the way that carers behave towards them; therefore carers may behave in different ways to different babies, depending on whether they are male or female.
  • For instance, it may be that female babies behave in a more passive way, and this makes carers interact with female babies in a calmer way and thereby shapes the babies bheaviour into what could be seen as a traditional female role within Western culture.
  • Likewise, male babies may appear more boisterous, so they will be treated differently.
  • For example, male babies may be given toy hammers and cars to play with.
  • The approach argues that a child's gender identity is consistent with the ay that the child has been raised and how they are raised is subtly different for boys and girls.
  • The approach acknowledges that gender is flexible, and what it means to be male and female changes over time and culture to culture. Therefore how the gender of a child is constructed can vary greatly.
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Biosocial: AO2

  • IDA: The theory falls mainly on the nurture side of the nature/nurture debate. This is because the explanation presumes that gender is caused largely by the way others react to the child based on its physical characteristics, rather than focus mainly on the child's biology. However, the theory could be praised as it is a less rigid approach to gender and suggests that gender behaviour can be influenced by both biology and environment. This could lead to less sex role stereotyping from parents and society.
  • Smith and Lloyd: Using 6 month olds, the researchers dressed and named some of them the opposite sex. They then asked adults unkown to the babies to play with them. They found adults used cues associated with name and clothing to prompt their toy choice. Babies percieved as boys were more likely to be given a toy hammer, whereas those percieved as girls were given dolls. This supports the theory as it shows adults do treat babies differently depending on what they believe their sex to be, however, there are no findings that show if this effects children in the long term.
  • David Reimer: Developed a masculine brain as he was exposed to testosterone at birth, despite being labelled and growing up as a girl. This study suggests that the role of gender is explained through the role of brain, a biological factor, which challenges the theory.
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Biosocial: AO3

  • The empirical evidence by Smith & Lloyd has been criticised for containing a methodological flaw. Smith & Lloyd conducted a lab experiment and therefore the study was conducted within an artificial environment. With extraneous variable being controlled the findings of the study cannot be generalised to real life environments.This reduces the ecological validity of the study and furthermore a consequence the internal validity of the theory is weakened as the study acting as supporting empirical evidence has just been weakened.
  • The theory has also been criticised for being deterministic.The theory fails to consider the role of individual difference and the role of free will by suggesting that  we ourselves do not influence the way in which we are treated and thus cannot explain gender dysphoria.As the theory fails to explain the gender development of all individuals the theory cannot be provided as a good explanation to the whole population and thus lacks external reliability.
  • The theory could have useful applications as it could allow parents to realise how much influence they have on their child, so they could think more about what they say and how they act.
  • There is quite a lot of challenging research, as a lot of studies suggest that biology is the main factor in gender, this decreases the reliability and validity of the theory and its research.
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Evolutionary: Empathizing/Systemizing - AO1

  • The theory states that the female brain has been predominantly hard wired for empathy, which is the cognitive skill of identifying another person's emotions and thoughts, and the affective aspect of responding to these with an appropriate emotion.
  • The male brain is predominantly hard wired for systemizing (understanding and building systems) which refers to skills such as finding out how systems work, predicting them or inventing new systems. Many things can be systems, like a pond, a house, a farm since they all follow their own set rules.
  • You cannot really systemize a person in the sense that individuals do not a follow a set pattern, so empathy is more helpful for day to day interaction that systemizing, whereas systemizing predicts nearly everything but people.
  • Baron Cohen theorizes that systemizing and empathizing depend of different regions of the brain. He describes autism as the extreme male brain because autism involves minimal empahty and maximum systemizing.
  • The theory hypothesizes that systemizing gave an evolutionary advantage to male hunters and gatherers and empathizing gave an evolutionary advantage to female carers.
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Evolutionary: Empathizing/Systemizing - AO2

  • IDA: This theory is deterministic because the theory is presuming that gender differences are hard wired into the brain and therefore not under our conscious control. The problem is that this gives us a very rigid view of male and female behaviour, which suggests that gender roles are not interchangeable. Therefore, the theory could be considered socially sensitive as it could lead to discrimination in the workplace because it suggests males will naturally be better at higher skilled jobs whereas women are suited to lower paid, care jobs.
  • Jenny Connellan and Anna Batkti: They placed both a human face and a mobile (hanging toy). They were not told the genders of the babies. The babies were videoed so it was possible to tell where they were looking. Males looked at the mobile more, while females looked more at the face. This supports the theory as it suggests that males are hardwired to systemize which is why they looked more at the the mobile, while girls are hardwired to empathize which is why they looked more at the face.
  • Baron Cohen and Wheelwright: Gave a systemizing and empathizing questionnaire to a group of people and found that males consistently scored higher on systemizing and females scored higher on empathizing. However, some women and men scored higher on the opposite tests. It supports the theory to a degree as the theory suggested this would be true.
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Evolutionary: Empathizing/Systemizing - AO3

  • Baron Cohen and Wheelwrights study lacks internal validity because not all women and men scored higher on the tests they were supposed to, so this shows that we can't generalise these results to all people.
  • This research could be socially sensitive as it suggests that women should be better at empathizing and men should be better at systemizing which isn't always true and should not be used as a stereotype. Because of this we can't draw firm conclusions from the research as it would need to be both very strong in validity and reliability which all the research evidence isn't.
  • There are other theories such as the biological approach which have much stronger evidence and validity, so it can explain gender development better than this theory.
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Evolutionary: Parental Investment - AO1

  • Parental investment means anything that a parent does that increases the chance that their offspring will survive and reproduce.; this is at the cost of the parent's evolutionary fitness in other areas, such as ability to look after other children or wider kin.
  • The minimum parental investment required from a father is the length of time it takes to get a woman pregnant; for a woman, it is nine months of pregnancy. Within that time a man could potentially father other children, so women have more of a vested interest in their child.
  • This differing level of initial parental investment goes onto affect gender role: it affects parental care, mate selection and sexual jealousy.
  • Infants of early humans would have been breast fed until two, so women were obliged to care for small children. Human children also have longer childhood compared to other animals, because they are born prematurely so that childbirth can actually occur, which makes them dependant. Since women have already spent much energy on pregnancy, childbirth for a child that they know is theirs, it is adaptive for mothers to care more for a child than their father.
  • Men need women who are fertile and faithful, so that they can be sure that a child is theirs. To judge if a woman is fertile, the men assess whether she is young, attractive and healthy, as this indicates fertility. Females need to find a man who will invest resources in their offspring, giving them a greater chance of survival. Men have more to gain from cheating than women.
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Evolutionary: Parental Investment: AO2

  • IDA: The theory focuses more on the nature side of the nature/nurture debate, as it suggests that women will have a greater investment in their child due to the fact that they can't mother as many as men and they will know that the child is theirs. This is socially sensitive as it suggets that females should care more for their children than men, which may not be true for a lot of families. This could make men trying to get custody of their children, much harder.
  • Buss: Carried out a survey of 37 cultures. They found that men valued physical attrativeness more than women, whereas women thought that good earning power and high occupational status was more important. Men and women preferred the man to be older. This supports the theory as it shows that men care more about looks as they want their mate to be young and fertile, while women care more for status because it suggests how much resources will be provided for them, which the theory suggested.
  • Anderson et al: Found that men were most willing to pay for their own children when they were still living with their child's mother. However, they did not discriminate financially between a child who was born to their current partner from a previous relationship and their own child from a previous relationship. To a degree this supports the theory as it shows men won't care so much about their child, if they're no longer with their mother, but it also challenges because they don't discriminate against their partners child from a previous relationship.
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Evolutionary: Parental Investment - AO3

  • The reliabilty for Buss' study would be low as it would be exteremly hard to contact that many people from all the different cultures again. However, it would have very high validity as it is more likely to be accurate because the sample size is so big.
  • It could be suggested that Anderson's study is low in validity/reliability as it may not be studying what it really wanted, because it started to get off track.
  • As well as this, the theory is very reductionist, as it does not seek to explain why mothers make a great investment in adopted children, as in many cases, they don’t require feeding and haven’t been carried. As well as this, it doesn’t explain the investment made in children in homosexual relationships, eg. if a child has two fathers who makes the greater investment in the child. This suggests that investment is not solely determined by our evolutionary past but rather by our changing cultural values. 
  • Although the sex differences between males and females are thought to be wide apart due to gender differences, much of the research shows that in modern relationships, the investment in children from the mother and father is very similar. The theory itself does not take into account modern relationships, and therefore more research should be done for looking at sexual differences in parental investment in modern society and also cultures.
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Cultural Influences: AO1

  • Some psychologists suggest that gender is culturally relative whilst others suggest that gender is culturally universal. Research has shown that there are many differences in gender roles between cultures and thus suggests that gender is socially constructed. If gender is culturally relative, it is suggested that culture and nurture shape the differences in gender roles through interactions and learning through a process of social learning and reinforcement.
  • Cross cultural research is carried out in different countries or cultures to enable us to assess the impact cultural has on behaviour, in this case, gender role behaviour.
  • IDA: Cross cultural research helps us to further understanding of the influence of nature/nurture on behaviour. This is because if we find that gender behaviour is consistent across cultures, it suggests a biological basis of behaviour. However, if we find that there are differences, then this suggests that culture/psychology must play a part.
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Cultural Influences: AO2

  • IDA: There are problems with ethnographic research which is mostly used in this theory, as it shows how difficult it is not to let our own cultural biases influence the way we record and interpret behaviour from a culture we are unfamiliar with. Although cross cultural research is generally regarded as a good thing, as it allows us to extend our understanding of behaviour beyond western society, it raises questions as to whether psychology can ever be totally free of cultural bias.
  • Wood and Eagly: Looked at thousands of cultures all over the world using an ethnographic approach. They found across various non-industrialised cultures men generally contributed more than women to providing food and women contributed more to child care. This supports the study as it suggestsbthat they maye be more influenced by biology.
  • Margaret Mead: Looked at 3 pre-industrialised societies in New Guinea. Tchambuli - Women were dominant, impersonal and managerial while makes were less responsible and more emotionally dependant. Arapesh - Both males and females were gentle, responsive and cooperative. It suggests that gender is more determined by nurture as all these different people acted very differently in gender roles. If it was all down to nature, we would expect them to have all acted in the same way. It was criticised for observor bias and cultural bias as she may have over empahasised the role of nurture because of her own beliefs.
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Cultural Influences: AO3

  • Gewertz: Observed the Tchambuli and found that males were more aggressive than females. He argued that Mead studied these tribes when they were facing a change in their lifestyle and shows how it is important to consider the context of a cultures situation when looking at their behaviour.
  • This shows that the external reliability of the research is very low as the findings of Mead's study when replicated did not get similar results. This weakens the support for the theory a lot as it suggests that it isn't reliable.
  • Wood and Eagly's research seems stronger support so it would suggest that gender is more influenced by biology as they looked at thousands of different cultures.
  • However, this doesn't necessarily confirm a biological basis in gender roles are the relationship may be more complex a. A woman's biology may mean that she is naturally assigned to the role of caring for children, and we would expect this to be consistent across cultures, but it doesn't confirm that there are innate personality differences that would make her more suitable for the role.
  • There are other theories that much more clearly explain gender role behaviour.
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Gender Schema Theory: AO1

  • Schemas are mental framework that help people organise and understand information; they allow you to predict what to do in certain situations.
  • Gender schema theory argues that gender identity develops through both cognitive and social processes and don't suggest that children need to know that gender is permanent to develop a gender schema unlike Kohlberg.
  • The child's gender schema develops around 2/3 as soon as the child notices differences between boys and girls and can label the two groups reliably. Having developed the schema, the child then looks for evidence to support their schemea. Martin and Halverson suggest that there are two types of schema: "the in group-out group" and "the own sex" schema. E.g. a girl might identify toys which are in the in group (a doll for a girl) or the out group (a train for a boy) and then move onto their own sex schema by thinking: A doll is for a girl, I'm a girl, a doll is for me. Theme schemas help children interpret and organise their experience - schemas simplify the world for us. They are similiar to stereotypes.
  • If we don't do this, we simply would not be able to manage our lives effectively. For children exposed to so much new info, such simplication is needed to understand the complex world around them. A child develops a gender schema appropriate to their culture, so they can vary from culture to culture.
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Gender Schema Theory: AO2

  • IDA: The theory falls wholly on the nurture side of the nature/nurture debate. This is because the theory attempts to explain gender entirely through cognitive and social processes. The problem is that it completely ignores the role of biological factors which may lead to a limited understanding of gender, particularly as there is a wealth of evidence that suggests that genes and hormones play a role in gender behaviour and identity.
  • Martin and Little: Found that althought 3-5 year old children had a very basic understanding of gender, they had strong gender stereotyoes about what boys and girls are supposed to do. This supports the view that their gender schema had an effect on their behaviour.
  • Martin, Eisenbud and Rose: Showed that 3-5 year old children toys that they could play with, but before they could make their choices, they were told that the toys were either for boys or girls. They found that boys played with toys that were for boys and girls would play with toys that were for girls. This supports the theory as it suggests that the children's behaviour was influenced by their own sex schemas.
  • Eisenbrg: Found that 3-4 year olds used significantly less gender reasoning when describing toys that other children may like. They didn't refer to gender, but to instead referred to the toys themselves and what they could do, which decreases support fr the theory because it suggests that the children only chose the toys because they liked them.
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Gender Schema Theory: AO3

  • We can't really draw definite conclusions from the research, as although evidence usually supports the theory, we are still unable to control other influences on a child's behaviour such as the effect of biological factors, or positive reinforcements that the child may have received for gender appropriate behaviours.
  • Another limitation of this theory is the issue of individual differences. Gender schema theory cannot explain why different children with much of the same environmental influences respond differently to gender-appropriate behaviour. For example, this theory cannot explain why some girls may prefer action figures and some boys may prefer Barbies. This may be due to biological differences such as genes and hormones, which gender schema theory largely ignores.
  • There may be a gender bias in this research. Studies have shown that girls are more willing to do masculine activities than boys are to do feminine activities. Thus, the development of gender schemas may be different for each gender. This may be due to social stigma: masculine traits and activities are seen as more desirable, and thus girls are more likely to have or perform them.
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Gender Devlopment: Kohlberg - AO1

  • Children acquire an understaning of the concepts of make and females in three stages:
  • Gender Identity: The child recognises that they are male or female but the knowledge is fragile and the chuld may not realise that boys grow into men and girls grow into women. Children understand gender identity aged 2-3.
  • Gender Stability: The child realises that people retain their gender for a lifetime but still tend to rely on superficial signs to determine gender e.g hair length, usually aged 3-7.
  • Gender Consistency: The child realises that gender is permanent whatever happens to a person's physical appearance such as men having long hair. Once the child achieves this they come to value the behaviours and attitudes associated with their gender and identify with adults who possess these qualities. Children understand this aged 7-12.
  • The theory says that children are active agents in their own gender role socialisation - this means that their thinking about gender determines when and how they show gender role behaviour. Once children achieve gender consistency they collect info about their gender roles, imitate same sex models and follow gender appropriate activities. This is called self socialisation since it does not depend on others such as parents, but what the child themselves thinks.
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Gender Development: Kohlberg - AO2

  • IDA: The theory is determinist because of how it says that children's understanding ofgender will happen at set ages in set stages. This should allow us to predict the child's understanding of gender but the ages the theory stated may not be accurate and it may also be that children do not pass through the stages in the order stated. What the theory attributes to nature may also be influenced by nurture - the evidence imples that nurture is the key area in te cognitive development of gender.
  • Slaby and Frey: Showed children pictures of girls and boys and asked "which one they were?" and asked "when you grow up will you be a mummy or daddy?". They found that children did go through the stages Kohlberg suggested. 3 year olds didn't understand any of the concepts, 4 year olds understood gender identity and by 5 children understood all concepts. This supports the theory as it shows that the children did go through the stages in that order. The simplicity of the study is a good way of assessing what children think without too much risk of demand characterisitcs, so it has high internal validity.
  • Martin and Little: Studied 3-5 year olds and found they had a very basic understanding of gender yet they had strong stereotypes about what girls and boys were supposed to do (gender appropriate behaviour). Hence only basic gender behaviour is needed to affecr the child's gender behaviour.
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Gender Development: Kohlberg - AO3

  • Cross cultural studies of children show that the three stages do develop in the order that Kohlberg suggested they would. Such studies provide good evidence because they show that aspects of theory are supported in more than one culture so the theory ma well be able to apply to different groups of people despite their nurture.
  • However, there is much evidence to show that the ages for the stages are too old, which lowers the validity of the study, as Kohlberg may have got this wrong.
  • There may be a gender bias in this theory, as some critics claim that females are being judged using a male standard. This is largely because Kohlberg's original research, which he used as a basis for this model, was done only on males. Gender development happens differently in males than it does in females. For example, girls are generally more willing to do masculine activities than boys are to do feminine activities.
  • These findings may be better explained by gender schema theory, which suggests that children begin to take on gender appropriate behaviours as soon as they are aware of their own gender (gender labelling). These finding may also be able to be explained biologically, as the boys' hormones may lead them to be more interested in masculine activities than in feminine activities
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Social Influences: AO1

  • Social psychologists would suggest that socialising agents such as parents and schools convey repetitive messages that actively teach children about the importance of gender role appropriate behaviours. They do this through reinforcement and the social learning theory.
  • The theory that the role of parents influence gender development suggests that parents positively reinforce their child when they carry out gender related behaviours suited to the child's behaviour and punish their child when they carry out gender unrelated behaviour. For example is a boy does ballet.
  • Children learn about gender related behaviour through operant conditioning as they associate gender appropriate behaviour with the behaviours they are rewarded (positively reinforced) for, and are then more likely to repeat that behaviour again.
  • Gender development is heavily influenced in school environments. This is partly because it provides an environment for children to interact, leading to peer influence as written about previously. However, teachers are another source of influence. They are also likely to reinforce gender-appropriate behaviours and aspirations. They can also act as role models, increasing their influence on gender development.
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Social Influences: AO2

  • IDA: The theory has also been criticised for being deterministic. The theory ignores the role of free will in that the children's behaviours are solely dependent on their parents  and schools and their reinforcement. This is wrong as other factors may be in play which have more of influence, so schools and parents shouldn't be wholly blamed. 
  • Langlois and Downs: Found that mothers showed equal warmth towards their sons and daughters regardless of how or what they played with. However, fthers were more disapproving of cross gender play, espiecially when their son was playing with a "girl" toy. This supports the theory as it shows how parents reinforce certain roles on their children.
  • Lindsey and Mize: Investigated parent's play with their pre school children. They found that parents, especially mothers, engaged in more pretend play wih their daughters. Fathers also engaged in more physical play with their sons. This supports the theory as it shows that parents treated their children differently depending on their gender.
  • Evans and Davies: Looked at books published for children in schools and found that even though 54% of characters were boys and 46% were girls, they were potrayed very differently. Male characters were much more aggressive and competitive, whilst female characters were more passive and emotionally expressive. This supports the theory as it shows how schools reinforce different ways of how girls and boys are supposed to behave.
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Social Influences: AO3

  • IDA: This theory could have useful applications as it shows how parents and schools are responsible for shaping children's gender development. This potentially means that we can use this info to help us avoid gender role stereotypes that can limit children's potential e.g. a father telling his son he can't do something seen as a "girl" job even though he's really good at it. Stereotyping children can be very harmful to them, so we should be more careful of how we act if we are a role model to them.
  • The research has quite high reliability as it consistently supports the view of the approach.
  • However, the research does not prove that the reinforcement from parents or schools has any effect on children's gender development, it does not show whether this will influence them long term which means that the research lacks internal validity.
  • A criticism of these social models is that they are ‘adevelopmental’: they suggest that the processes of learning gender-appropriate behaviours are the same at all ages. However, research shows that the processes by which individuals learn change with age, something which cognitive developmental theories provide a better explanation for. Cognitive developmental theories also better explain why children adhere to only same-sex stereotypes and ignore opposite-sex schemas.
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Gender Dysphoria: AO1

  • The biosocial approach to gender dysphoria acknowledges that gender dysphoria is the result of a complex interaction of nature and nurture, but also states that the key role is nurture.
  • It argues that how a child is raised is the most crucial element for their gender identity. This raises questions: if someone with a BSTc appropriately sized for the opposite sex is socialised as their own biological sex, the biosocial approach would argue that gender dysphoria wouldn't occur as nurture would over ride natura.
  • It may be that nature and the hormonal differences that influence that BSTc are enough to cause gender dysphoria, in which case the biosocial approach isn't convincing.
  • Zhou et al: Showed that male to female transsexuals had a BSTc which resembled females. This led researchers to suggest that the BSTc is responsible for our gender identity.
  • The biosocial approach suggests that some babies and toddlers will behave as the opposite biological sex and so will be socialised as the opposite sex, causing gender dsyphoria.
  • However, Zhou's eveidence could also be taken as to mean that gender dsyphoria is purely biological - the BSTc may biologically determine gender dysphoria and socialisation may play little role in its development.
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Gender Dysphoria: AO2

  • IDA: Another consideration is the socially sensitive nature of this research. It may be good for transsexuals if a biological cause is identified as this may help people to be more accepting of their problems (i.e. it is not a ‘choice’). Alternatively, if a biological cause is identified this may harm individuals born with a related abnormality as it may be erroneously assumed that gender dysphoria is inevitable.
  • Research has found that boys with gender dysphoria have been rated as more attractive than control children, and their mothers were more likely to describe their sons as "beautiful" than the mothers in the control group. The bisosocial approach would state that as these children were viewed as beautiful, they were socialised in a more feminine way, causing gender dysphoria.
  • Gender dysphoria is more widely understood in the UK now that it was in the past and rates of sex realignment surgery are increasing. In Thailand gender dysphoria is viewed as more usual than it is here and rates of sex realignment surgery are higher. The biosocial approach would explain these facts being the result of upbringing, so nurture is the cause. If inborn characteristics of a child suggest gender dysphoria, they are then socialised accordingly.
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Gender Dysphoria: AO3

  • IDA: If gender dysphoria is caused by nurture, then it would be suggested that it is caused by parenting, then balem for gender dysphoria would be placed on parents. This is surely an unhelpful stance and suggests in itself that there is something wrong, rather than simply something different, with being gender dysphoric.
  • Rekers: Reported that of 70 gender dysphoric boys, none have evidence of biological causes but there was a common factor or a alack of stereotypical male role models. The findings suggest that there are stronger psychological factors into the explanation of gender dysphoria as no biological causes were found but psychological causes (lack of stereotypical male role models) were. With the findings supporting the theorys assumption that gender dysphoria can be explained through psychological factors such as role models, the theorys internal validity is strengthened.
  • This explanation of gender dysphoria can be considered reductionist. The explanation suggest that gender dysphoria is developed through situational factors only (i.e. role model influences) and ignores biological factors (i.e. genes/ brain structures). The explanation fails to consider biological factors, it fails to provide an holistic account as it is likely that the development of gender development is through a combination of both biological and situational factors. With lack of consideration to this both theorys internal validity is weakened.
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