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Explaining Gender - deepsquare


									PYB1: Introducing
Explaining Gender

   Revision Material
Explaining Gender - syllabus
• Biological Explanations
  – typical and atypical sex chromosome patterns; influence of
    androgens (including testosterone) and oestrogen.
• Social Learning Approach
  – including reference to reinforcement, modelling, imitation and
• Cognitive Approach
  – including Kohlberg’s cognitive-developmental theory, including
    reference to gender identity, gender stability and gender
• Psychoanalytic Approach
  – including Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, reference to identification
    and Oedipus/Electra complex.
Biological Explanations
           • Assumes gender & sex
             are interrelated.
           • Differences between
             sexes are attributed
             to anatomical
             differences & action
             of hormones.
           • (Stress on internal
             factors/ Nature
             argument – ‘anatomy is
 Typical Sex Chromosome Patterns
• Chromosomes = biochemical
  units of heredity – have 46
  matched into 23 pairs (each
  controls different area of
• Pair 23 = control anatomical sex
  of person
• Normal chromosome pattern =
  – XX = female
  – XY = male
Atypical Sex Chromosome Patterns (1)
          Turner’s Syndrome
          • When females develop only one X
            chromosome on pair 23 – designated XO
          Effects – female in appearance but ovaries fail
            to develop (due to this = no production of
            oestrogen or progesterone). Physical
            differences – webbed neck, broad chest,
            shorter in height (no taller than 4’8’’), at
            puberty breasts do no develop & no
            menstruation. Cognitive differences – higher
            than average verbal ability, lower than
            average spatial ability, visual memory,
            arithmetic skills. Behavioural differences –
            hypersensitive, poor peer relations
          Treatment – female hormone therapy from
            puberty to aid development of menstruation
            & secondary sexual characteristics (e.g.
Atypical Sex Chromosome Patterns (2)
        Klinefelter’s Syndrome
         • When males have an extra X chromosome
           on pair 23 – designated XXY
         Effects – Physical differences – appear male
           physically but extra X chromosome means
           have less body hair and underdeveloped
           genitals. Cognitive differences – poor
           language skills in childhood (many don’t talk
           before 3), lower reading ability. Behavioural
           differences – passive & co-operative, calm &
           shy throughout life
         Treatment –hormone therapy from puberty can
           help development of normal sexual
           characteristics which can help reduce
           possible psychological problems.
         Conclusion – evidence of atypical sex
           chromosome patterns supports biological
           explanation of gender development as shows
           how biological sex & gender development
           are closely linked.
   Influence of sex hormones (1)
Hormones = chemical
  substances in the glands
  (endocrine system)
Sex hormones = androgens
  (including testosterone),
  oestrogen, progesterone.
  Each are present in normal
  males & females but in
  differing amounts.
Evidence of effects of sex
  hormones supports biological
  explanation of gender
     Influence of sex hormones (2)
Androgens = associated with
 male development

Testosterone = most important
  androgen. Leads to
  development of male external
  sexual organs. Acts on brain
  & pituitary system.
Effects – high levels are
  associated with aggression.
      Influence of sex hormones (3)
Oestrogen = responsible for
  controlling onset of menstruation
  & foetal development when
  pregnant. Important in females
  after puberty due to influence on
  menstrual cycle.
Behavioural Effects – in some
  women can lead to PMT/PMS. In
  some women can lead to
  aggression, anti-social
  behaviour, criminal acts (e.g.
  shoplifting – PMS has been used
  as defence in court cases)
  Biological Explanations – evidence
      Money & Ehrhardt (1972)
• Aim - To investigate the effects of social
  elements in developing gender identity.
• Method - Ten individuals with testicular
  feminising syndrome were studied. They had all
  been categorised as girls at birth on the basis of
  their external genitalia and raised as females.
• Results - The individuals tended to be more
  tomboyish than other girls but did show a
  preference for the female role.
• Concs - Interaction of biological and social
  factors is important in explaining gender
  Biological Explanations – evidence
      Imperato-McGinley (1979)
                   The Machi-embra of the Dominican Republic
 Aim      To investigate whether biological or social factors influence
             gender identity

Method Case study on group of boys with genetic abnormality. =
         genetic (XY) males but appear female (rare form of

Results Boys raised traditionally as females until puberty then
          become normal males & adopt full masculine role

Concs     Important for illustrating relative impact of nature & nurture
            on gender identity & behaviour. Strong support for
            biological model.
  Biological Explanations - Evaluation
• There are clear biological differences between males and
  females which could affect their understanding of gender.
• Evidence of atypical chromosome patterns and effect of
  sex hormones supports the theory that biological sex and
  gender are closely linked.

• Lateralisation between males and females may happen at
  birth due to biological factors, but this theory does not
  allow for the fact that distinctions between males and
  females may be reinforced socially (unlike SLT approach
  to gender development.)
• It is difficult to distinguish between the effects of nature
  and nurture.
• Erhardt rejects idea of biological determinism (anatomy =
  destiny) – argues that gender of the child is socially not
  biologically constructed.
Exam question – June 2006 - Name one sex hormone and give an
example of how this hormone might affect a person’s behaviour.

• AO1 One mark for correct identification of a sex
  hormone, eg testosterone; oestrogen.

• AO2 One mark for an appropriate example of the effect
  of this hormone on male or female behaviour.
Possible answers:
• Testosterone (AO1, 1). The effect of this hormone may
  be in terms of increased aggression (AO2, 1).
• Oestrogen (AO1, 1). The effect of this hormone may
  give rise to pre-menstrual tension (PMT) (AO2, 1).
Exam question – June 2006 - Victoria is five years old and she is different
  from other girls of her age. She is smaller in height and has a webbed
neck. At school, her teachers have commented that she has good verbal
 skills but her mathematical skills are poor. Medical tests have revealed
 that Victoria has a sex chromosome pattern XO. (i) Name the atypical
 sex chromosome syndrome described above.(1 mark) (ii) Identify how
   Victoria’s sex chromosome pattern differs from that of most girls. (1
mark) (iii) Explain how studying people like Victoria can contribute to our
                    understanding of gender. (2 marks)

(i) AO1 One mark for the correct identification of the syndrome.
     Turner’s syndrome.
(ii) AO1 One mark for the correct identification of the typical sex
     chromosome pattern for girls, eg most girls have a sex chromosome
     pattern XX.
(iii) AO2 Two marks for an appropriate explanation. Possible answer:
     By studying people with atypical sex chromosomes and comparing
     their development with that of people with typical sex chromosomes
     (AO2, 1), psychologists are able to make inferences as to what
     aspects of gender behaviour are genetic (AO2, 1).
    How to answer a 10 mark question
      on the Biological Explanation
• Describe features/ assumptions of biological explanation of gender
  inc: gender is determined by
     – action of hormones, or
     – result of evolutionary factors, or
     – genes linked to sex chromosomes
• Describe relevant study – e.g. Imperato & McGinley
• Discuss how evidence supports biological explanation of behaviour
     – Studies of people with atypical sex chromosomes
     – Case studies
•   Evidence will be discussed in terms of how the results & conclusions
    support the biological approach & possibly limitations of this evidence
    or alternative explanations for the results
•   Contrast biological explanation with other explanations such as
    psychoanalytic or social learning approach & evidence which supports
    these approaches.
Social Learning Approach
       • Assumes behaviour is a product of
         environmental influences and is
         learned as a result of observation &
       • (Stress on external factors/ Nurture
       • Children learn by observing what
         types of attitudes & behaviours are
         associated with their gender. If this
         behaviour is rewarded it is more likely
         to be repeated. Therefore their
         behaviour is shaped by those around
         them in a social context (opposite to
         biological approach)
    Social Learning Approach
• When behaviour becomes
  associated with a positive or
  negative response.
• If the response to the behaviour
  is positive, it is more likely to be
  repeated (reinforcement). If the
  response is negative (e.g.
  punishment) it is less likely to be
• Mischel (1966) – children learn
  sex-roles by being reinforced
  directly for doing sex-
  appropriate things & for
  imitating same sex role models.
Social Learning Approach
        • Modelling refers to behaviour
          which is observed (1), and
          having been observed can be
          repeated & imitated.
        • One person is the model (who
          provides the example), the
          other individual (e.g. the child)
          interprets the behaviour
        • Factors which increase chance
          of modelling are:
          appropriateness & relevance of
          model (e.g. same sex role model)
   Social Learning Approach
• Copying behaviour = the
  quickest type of
  learning in humans and
• Behaviour is imitated
  as it is seen as
  rewarding – if
  reinforcement doesn’t
  happen, imitation
  usually ends.
Social Learning Approach
        • Identification occurs with
          another person (the model), and
          involves taking on a range of
          observed behaviours, values,
          beliefs & attitudes of the
          person with whom you are
        • Attachment to specific models
          who possess qualities seen as
          rewarding. Important factor in
          choice of model is that the
          model has a quality the child
          would like to possess.
       Social Learning Approach
      Evidence – Bandura et al (1963)
• Aim - To investigate modelling with children
• Method – Children observe an adult behaving
  aggressively towards a large inflatable Bobo doll. The
  adult attacked the doll in unusual ways (e.g. hitting it with
  a hammer, saying things like ‘Pow…boom…boom’). The
  children were then left in the playroom and their
  behaviour was observed. A control group of children
  played in the playroom with the same toys but did not
  observe the adult attacking the doll.
• Results – Behaviour of the experimental group was very
  similar to that of the adult model. The control group did
  not display similar behaviour.
• Conclusion - Children imitated the behaviour of the
  adult model they had observed.
        Social Learning Approach
   Evidence – Bussey & Bandura (1992)
Study                     Bussey & Bandura (1992)
 Aim      To investigate children’s judgements of gender-appropriate
             and gender-inappropriate play
Method Children aged three and four were asked to say whether
         they would feel ‘real great’ or ‘real awful’ when playing
         with a range of toys. They thought they were making
         these judgements anonymously.
Results By age four, boys felt great about playing with trucks and
           robots, but awful about playing with dolls and kitchen
           sets. The opposite was true of girls.
Concs     Children learn to feel uncomfortable with gender-
            inappropriate behaviour early on. As the reactions were
            given anonymously they could be considered to be the
            child’s self evaluation rather than factors such as the
            demand characteristics of the situation.
     Social Learning Approach –
     Evaluation – positive points
• Flexible approach – allows for changes in personality,
  identification & imitation occur throughout life. (unlike
  biological & psychoanalytic approaches which assume
  personality = fixed/determined.)

• Leary et al (1982) children who frequently watch TV are
  more likely to hold gender stereotypes and conform to
  appropriate gender roles
• Smith & Lloyd (1978) – mothers related to babies
  dressed in pink or blue differently
• Bandura et al (1961, 1963) – boys more likely to imitate
  aggressive role models. More likely to imitate same-sex
     Social Learning Approach –
     Evaluation – negative points
• Doesn’t account for differences between children in same
  household – SLT assumes boys all similar & girls all similar
  – doesn’t allow for individual differences. E.g. Harris (1999)
  argued children raised in same environment = not always
  similar in gender development.
• Doesn’t take into account a child’s own understanding of
  their gender role

• Schaffer (1996) – even children treated in unisex way by
  families develop gender stereotypes
• Snow (1983) – behavioural differences may not be caused by
  fact that parents treat their children differently, parents may
  treat children differently because of behavioural differences
• Maccoby & Jacklin (1974) – found no consistent differences
  in extent to which boys reinforced for aggressiveness more
  than girls.
   Exam question - June 2004 (c) Jack, who is 5 years old, was
watching his favourite cartoon on the television. The cartoon was
 about a boy who was rewarded for helping his father with jobs,
  including washing the car. After the cartoon had ended, Jack
immediately went to his father and said “Daddy, can we wash the
   car please?” With reference to the social learning approach,
     explain the effect of the cartoon on Jack’s behaviour. (4)

AO1 Two marks for reference to aspects of the social learning
  approach, eg modelling (observation/imitation), observation,
  identification, vicarious conditioning associated with gender,
  environmental influence, media.

AO2 Two marks for reference to the stimulus material that illustrates
 the aspects identified. The application should be detailed to gain
 two marks. For example, Jack has identified with the boy in the
 cartoon who he perceives as his role model. Jack sees this
 behaviour as gender appropriate and leads him to want to reproduce
 the behaviour observed.
 Exam question – June 2005 - Distinguish between the
     terms imitation and identification. (3 marks)

AO1 One mark each for the correct identification of the
Possible answer: Imitation refers to copying behaviour
  (AO1, 1). Identification refers to taking on the behaviour
  of a role model (AO1, 1).

AO2 One mark for the distinction between these terms.
Possible answer: Imitation usually refers to a single
  behaviour whereas identification is more permanent and
  applies to a whole range of behaviours (AO2, 1).

Credit answers which refer to an appropriate example.
    How to answer a 10 mark question
    on the Social Learning Approach
AO1 Description of features/assumptions of social learning theory – including:
    – How gender role identity is learned through positive reinforcement and modelling,
       where a child is rewarded for sex-appropriate behaviour and punished for
       inappropriate behaviour
    – How behaviour is also learned indirectly through the modelling of parents,
       stereotypes and the media. Any feature within society plays an important role in the
       acquisition of gender identity.
    – Children learn by identification with role models
• Discuss theory of the acquisition of gender identity presented in AO1 – e.g.
  learning through identification with role models will need to be explained in relation to
  features of the role models which may be attractive to boys or girls and influence their
  behaviour. If features of role model are unattractive, child will not identify with them.
• Response will focus on the supporting/conflicting evidence for the theory. -
  Contrast with alternative approaches. E.g.
    – Biological theory states gender is innate and universal – society plays no role in the
       acquisition of gender theory
    – Cognitive approach offers some middle ground to the social learning theory in
       stating that aspects of society can be an important feature in providing information
       which can then be incorporated into the gender schema
    – Psychoanalytic approach states that society plays no particular role beyond the
       behaviour of the parents
• Relate directly to stimulus material if scenario is presented
          Cognitive Approach
• Focus on internal mental world
  of child and how they react to
  external stimuli. How child
  actively constructs and
  understands gender.
• (Stress on internal factors)
• The child’s discovery that they
  are male or female causes
  them to identify with members
  of their own sex (SLT &
  psychoanalytic approaches
  argue this happens the other
  way round.)
 Cognitive Approach - schemas
• A schema is a mental structure which holds a
  collection of ideas and associations which
  guide behaviour.
• A gender schema contains ideas about what is
  appropriate behaviour for males and females,
  this influences the individual’s behaviour.
• Bem argues that children organise their ideas
  about gender as a result of their observations
  of their social world.
• Gender divisions are culturally defined.
Cognitive Approach – Kohlberg’s
 Cognitive Development Theory
• Very young children become aware of a male/female
  divide as they are starting to make sense of the
  world around them. This is based on attitudes &
  behaviour (not physical differences like
  psychoanalytic approach).
• By 2½ a child can clearly identify themselves as male
  or female and can identify others as male or female.
• The child is at the centre of the learning process and
  try to make sense of the world by acting on it.
• By 4 years of age children select more stereotypical
  activities than older or younger children.
• By 7 years of age children can conserve information
  (Piaget’s experiments) – develop gender constancy.
Cognitive Approach –
Kohlberg’s Theory (1)
      Gender Identity
      • Approx 2 years old
      • Knowledge that own gender is
        male or female (can answer
        question are you a boy or girl?)
      • Can label others male or
      • Knowledge is fragile, child does
        not appreciate that gender =
      Cognitive Approach –
      Kohlberg’s Theory (2)
Gender Stability
• Approx 4-5 years old
• Knowledge that own gender
  will remain constant
  throughout life (e.g. boys
  become men, girls become
  women – they will always be
  same sex)
• Still relies on superficial
  features (e.g. hair length) to
  determine gender.
Cognitive Approach –
Kohlberg’s Theory (3)
    Gender Constancy
    • Approx 7 years old
    • Recognising that gender remains
      the same for everyone in spite of
      superficial changes/external
      appearances (e.g. clothes, hair,
      toys played with)
    • Understanding that biological sex
      does not change even if situation
      changes (e.g. a boy doesn’t
      become a girl if he wears a dress
      or plays with a doll)
               Cognitive Approach
            Evidence - Damon (1977)
• Aim - To investigate the development of the understanding of
  gender in children aged 4 to 9 to see whether the concept
  changed over time.
• Method - Damon told the children a story about a boy named
  George who enjoyed playing with dolls. George’s parents
  wanted to discourage him and said that only girls play with
  dolls. The children were then asked questions about whether
  people were right to interfere with the type of toys children
  play with and whether it was alright for George to play with
  dolls if he wanted.
• Results - The children’s answers varied according to age. 4
  year olds thought it was fine for George to play with dolls, the
  6 year olds thought it was wrong and should not be allowed, 9
  year olds thought it was unusual but not a bad thing to do and
  George should be allowed to play with dolls if he wants.
• Conclusion - Children’s understanding of gender appropriate
  behaviour changes with age and is a reflection of the
  cognitive development.
    Cognitive Approach - evidence
Study                           Evidence - Kuhn et al (1978)
 Aim      To investigate young children’s understanding of gender role

Method    Children age 2½ to 3½ were shown paper dolls called Michael and Lisa.
              They were asked whether Michael or Lisa would be likely to make
              statements such as ‘I like to help mummy’, ‘I like to fight’ and ‘I need
              some help.’
Results   Boys and girls shared some beliefs about gender roles, e.g. that girls like to
             help mummy, talk a lot and ask for help and that boys like to play with
             cars, help daddy and say ‘I can hit you’.
          Boys had beliefs about girls which girls didn’t share, e.g. girls cry and aren’t
             very clever. Girls also had beliefs about boys which they didn’t share,
             e.g. boys fight and are unkind.
          Boys and girls also have beliefs about positive aspects of themselves not
             shared by the opposite sex. Girls (but not boys) believe girls are pretty
             and never fight. Boys (but not girls) believe that boys like to work hard
             and are loud.
Concs     Gender-role stereotypes are held by very young children. There is an
             affective aspect to these cognitions, as the stereotypes tend to value
             their own sex and devalue the opposite sex.
          Cognitive Approach
      Evaluation – positive points
• Sees the child as having an active role in
  gaining gender identity, doesn’t play passive
  role/ not victim of hormones/ instincts/ social
  learning (compare to other approaches)
• Munroe et al (1984) – found that the concepts
  of gender identity to gender stability to gender
  constancy occur across many cultures.
• Damon (1977) – (story of George who played
  with dolls)
• Kuhn et al (1978) – (paper dolls of Michael &
            Cognitive Approach
        Evaluation – negative points
• Theory tends to be descriptive rather than explanatory – does
  not explain why children select the categories they do and what they
  incorporate into their gender schema. Social Learning Theory
  explains this process better through reinforcement & modelling.
• Kohlberg’s theory doesn’t recognise individuality within the
  gender concept – some girls may have a very traditional feminine
  identity while others are more assertive. Does not explain
  individuality in way males and females understand concepts of
  masculinity & femininity. Gender concepts can change over time
  (e.g. was considered unmanly to be involved in childcare, now is
  expected), some people change & others don’t – Social Learning
  Theory explains this better.
• Huston (1983) – Even infant babies show marked preference for
  stereotypical male or female toys (even though theory predicts there
  should be little or no gender appropriate behaviour before gender
  constancy is achieved.)
    Exam question – Jan 2007 (c) Philip is seven years old and is
         going to a fancy dress party. He is wearing a dress.
Philip’s little brother, Sydney, says, “Look, mummy! Philip’s a girl
     now!” Philip replies, “I am still a boy, even if I am wearing a
 dress.” (i) With reference to Kohlberg’s cognitive-developmental
      theory, identify the stage of gender development shown by
  Sydney. In your answer, refer to comments made by Sydney. (2)
 (ii) With reference to Kohlberg’s cognitive-developmental theory,
identify the stage of gender development shown by Philip. In your
            answer, refer to comments made by Philip. (2)
(i) AO1 One mark for correct identification of the stage of gender development.
    Gender identity. Accept reference to gender stability.
• AO2 One mark for reference to the stimulus material that explains the stage

(ii) AO1 One mark for correct identification of the stage of gender development.
• • Gender constancy
• AO2 One mark for reference to the stimulus material that explains the stage
   How to answer a 10 mark question
     on the Cognitive Explanation
AO1 - Description of features/assumptions of cognitive approach – including Kohlberg’s Theory,
   where a child’s understanding of their own gender concept becomes more sophisticated with age.
   The three stages of gender development are:
     – Gender Identity – around 2 years, where a child is simply able to label his/her own sex
        correctly and to identify other people as boys or girls.
     – Gender Stability – between 3½ and 4½ years, where a child understands that people stay
        the same gender throughout their life.
     – Gender Constancy – between 4½ and 7 years, where a child understands that someone
        stays the same biological sex even though external appearance may be different.
•  Refer to empirical evidence, e.g.
     – Damon (1977) in demonstrating how a child’s understanding of gender develops with age.
     – Bem – gender schema theory
•  Discuss the cognitive approach to gender development with reference to empirical
   evidence, e.g.
     – Slaby & Frey (1975) showed how pre-school children rated as having gender constancy
        actively seek information in developing gender-appropriate behaviour
•  Criticisms – e.g. theory doesn’t account for individual differences in child’s understanding of
   masculinity/femininity Kohlberg’s theory may be more descriptive than explanatory
•  Contrast with other approaches, e.g.
     – Social learning theory – development of a child’s schema through reinforcement & modelling.
     – Biological approach – genetic and hormonal factors cause gender-appropriate behaviour.
•  Relate directly to stimulus material if scenario is presented
     Psychoanalytic Approach
• Assumes development of gender
  identity is linked to interpersonal
  relationships between child &
• The parent-child relationship forms
  the mould which stays with the child
  their whole life.
• Parental relationship forms a
  prototype which remains with the
  person all of their life.
• Assumes presence of the
  unconscious mind. (Internal &
  external factors)
   Psychoanalytic Approach
Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory
       • Theory is linked to ideas
         surrounding infantile sexuality.
       • Stages of development in first
         5 years – Oral stage (1st year),
         Anal stage (2nd-5th year), Phallic
         stage (5th & 6th year) – all linked
         to biological development.
       • Libido = sexual energy which
         motivates behaviour.
     Psychoanalytic Approach
 Freud’s Psychoanalytic Theory (2)
First 3 years of life child = bisexual.
• The child’s relationship with the
  mother is crucial & intense,
  develops into auto-eroticism.
Phallic Stage – before this stage the
  child has no fixed gender identity
• During this stage gender divisions
  occur which lead to males
  developing masculine behaviour &
  females developing feminine
• This occurs due to
  Oedipus/Electra complexes
Psychoanalytic Approach
    Oedipus Complex
     • Occurs during phallic stage in boys
     • Boy’s affection for mother becomes
       intensely sexual
     • Boy sees father as a rival who has the
       power to castrate him
     • Unconscious conflict - Boy is torn
       between love for mother & fear of
       father – resolves conflict by
       identifying with father.
     • Boy assumes masculine identity and
       looks to father as role model.
       Psychoanalytic Approach
           Electra Complex
• Occurs during phallic stage in girls
• Girl becomes aware of the male phallus and that she
  wants one (penis envy). Recognises phallus as symbol
  of power.
• Unconscious conflict - Realises is powerless & mother
  is also – loathes mother for making her incomplete.
• Resolves conflict by converting penis envy into penis
  baby project.
• Having resolved her conflict she returns to pre-
  Electra relationship with mother, identifies herself
  as a woman with her mother as a role model.
Beyond Freud – Nancy Chodorow
• Freud’s theories have influenced
  other psychoanalytic theorists.
• Chodorow argued that the early
  mother-child relationship forms
  basis of gender identity.
• Mothers & daughters same sex so
  relationship = closer than between
  mothers and sons – leads to fusion
  and desire to be together whereas
  sons are seen as distant & different
  so mother more likely to allow male
  child independence at an earlier
  age. (Goldberg & Lewis study)
    Differences between theories of
    Sigmund Freud & Nancy Chodorow

        Freud              Chodorow
Child creates own     Mother’s behaviour
identity.             creates difference.
Gender identity =     Gender identity =
response to father.   response to mother.
Process = from 4-5    Process begins at birth.
years of age.
           Psychoanalytic Approach
  Supporting Evidence (limited!) – Little Hans
• Freud used the case study of Little
  Hans to support his theories. 5 year
  old Little Hans had a phobia of
  horses. Freud said that Hans was
  really scared of his father because he
  was bigger and could castrate Hans
  because he desired his mother. Freud
  encouraged Hans’ father to talk to
  Hans and reassure him that he would
  one day grow up as big as him, Hans
  then grew up normally.
          Psychoanalytic Approach
Supporting Evidence - Goldberg & Lewis (1969)
•   Aim - Observed mother-child interactions to discover whether this could
    explain differences in the behaviour of boys and girls.
•   Method - In laboratory situation, observed behaviour of 64 mothers playing
    with their children. They were interviewed when the child was 6 months to
    see if there were any differences than, then brought children to the lab when
    13 months old. Each mother-child pair left in a room with a chair and 9 toys.
    Some toys made a noise (drums) some were for quieter play (dolls).
•   Results - Mother/daughter pairs showed greater physical closeness & played
    together with the dolls. Mother/son pairs showed less proximity. Boys
    wandered away from mothers, played with noisy toys, more independent.
•   Concs - Mothers treat children differently according to the sex of the child,
    this difference in treatment accounts for gender differences in behaviour.
•   Evaluation - Don’t know how the mothers would behave if they had a child of
    the opposite sex. However in other studies when mothers asked to interact
    with a baby dressed in pink or blue, they show greater nurturing behaviour to
    the children perceived to be female (Davenport 1994). Supports
    Chodorow’s theories.
•   Means gender differences are due to interactions between mother and
    child – contradicts SLT approach which argues gender differences are
    due to reinforcement, imitation & modelling.
  Psychoanalytic Approach - Evaluation
• No empirical evidence for Oedipal/ Electra
  complexes, theories are based on case studies
  & self-analysis.
• Children don’t just acquire gender identity in
  one go at a particular age.
• Children are aware of gender roles well
  before age that Freud believed the Oedipus
  complex was resolved – boys and girls choose
  stereotypical male/female toys in infancy.
• Children growing up in atypical families are
  not adversely affected – often grow up with
  more secure attachments.
Exam question – June 2004b – Briefly describe
 Freud’s explanation of the Electra complex (3

• Three marks for correct description
  including three of the following features:
  phallic stage in girls, penis envy,
  castration, penis baby, unconscious
  conflict and resolution, role of parents,
 Exam question – Jan 2006a - Outline Freud’s
explanation of the Oedipus complex. (3 marks)

• Three marks for correct description
  including three of the following features:
  phallic stage in boys, sexual attraction to
  opposite sex parent, castration anxiety,
  unconscious conflict and resolution,
  identification, etc.
Exam question – June 2006b - Outline two criticisms of
the psychoanalytic explanation of gender development.
                      (4 marks)

One mark for each criticism identified.
One further mark for elaboration of each criticism
  identified. This may be in the form of justification
  or illustration.
Likely answers: lack of empirical support for the
  Oedipus/Electra complex; the Oedipus complex
  arose from Freud’s own self-analysis; Freud’s
  use of the case study of Little Hans as evidence
  is questionable; the age at which gender identity
  occurs; the gender identity which emerges is a
  response to the father.
     How to answer a 10 mark question
     on the Psychoanalytic Explanation
AO1- Description of features/assumptions of psychoanalytic approach – including:
    – The unconscious process, importance of interaction with parents, gender identity is
       fixed in the early years, assumptions of psychoanalytic approach
    – Describe Freud’s theory in terms of the Oedipus and Electra complex in the phallic
• Discuss strengths of approach:
    – Freud – very limited support – case of Little Hans – not empirical evidence
    – Chodorow – discuss her work and evidence to support it (Goldberg & Lewis)
• Discuss limitations of approach:
    – Lack of evidence or evidence which refutes theory – e.g. studies which show that
       children brought up in single-sex of same-sex families have no greater difficultly with
       gender identity than those brought up in traditional families.
• Compare to alternative approaches:
    – Psychoanalytic explanation emphasises the unconscious/conscious in gender
       acquisition (nature) but fails to fully appreciate the role of nurture/environment such as
       in social learning theory
    – Benefits of psychoanalytic explanation in emphasising role of parents in gender
       development – shows limitations of biological approach
    – Could contrast timing of gender identity during phallic stage with cognitive explanation
       which views this process as taking place over a number of years in childhood.
• Relate directly to stimulus material if scenario is presented

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