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Chapter 8

by: Melanie Rios
Melanie Rios
Penn State
GPA 3.5

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This is a detailed outline of the chapter with class notes added in the mix
Psychology 243
Frederick Brown
Class Notes
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This 9 page Class Notes was uploaded by Melanie Rios on Monday April 4, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to Psych 243 at Pennsylvania State University taught by Frederick Brown in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 12 views. For similar materials see Psychology 243 in Behavioral Sciences at Pennsylvania State University.

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Date Created: 04/04/16
Chapter 8- Gender: The Psychobiology and the Behavior PART 1: The Biology of Gender A. Preview - Despite the reproductive differences between males and females, we are mostly alike in our psychological and social needs/desires - Sex: refers to out biological components involved in reproduction (genes, hormones, and internal/external body parts) - One of the first things interpreted when meeting someone new: › Gender: will refer to the the psychological attitudes, feelings, and behaviors that a person’s culture associates with their sex. (not all cultures view gender the same way) › Sexuality: refers to all aspects of being a sexual person of some type B. Biological Basis of Femaleness and Maleness - Even in the earliest religious text, men and women are in psychosocial equality (“in the image of God he created them”). Only biological differences are noted for the purpose of reproduction (“and they become one flesh”). 1. Sexual Reproduction - Each person’s biological sex is the physical differences that make reproduction possible 2. Genetics - Males (XY) Females (XX). The female contributes an X to reproduction while males can contribute an X or Y which ultimately determines the biological sex of their offspring. - Genetic mutations can occur where the offspring receives too many or too few sex chromosomes, this can result them being sterile (unable to reproduce) 3. Anatomy - External (genital) biological differences usually indicate similar internal differences › Regardless of sex chromosomes, there is a rare condition where babies are born with intersex external genitals (historically known as hermaphroditic genitals). This condition can be corrected surgically, however it is recommended that parents allow their children to make the decision of which sexual organ they would like to identify with. - Externally, both sexes start out with the genital tubercle as fetuses which are then differentiated into the penis & scrotum for males and clitoris & labia for females. 4. Hormones a. Puberty - The onset of full-scale sexual maturing brought about by the effects of sex hormones (in the adrenal glands, female ovaries, and male testicles) on body structure and the genitals b. Adolescent development - Physical changes adolescence can only be equivocated with those of the first years of life. - 1 sign of adolescent maturation is the initial growth spurt in height and weight - Sexual maturity is achieved: › in females a year after menarche (1 menstrual bleed) › in males several months after the 1 nocturnal emission of semen (usually occurs spontaneously after penis growth) - Sexual dimorphism: distinct body difference between males and females in body size and/or body features › Early-maturing in females:  Increasing obesity and environmental exposure to injected hormones in meat/other foods tends to produce more estrogen hormones  earlier development  Sexually developed 7 & 8 year olds quickens their sexual impulses. Good nutrition should be emphasized to prevent early sexual activity caused by obesity in young girls  Otherwise, girls who develop earlier than their peers seem less psychologically affected than males. It is at times a disadvantage because of a skewed normal- weight perception. They at times perceive themselves as overweight because their bodies fill out earlier. › Early-maturing in males:  At an advantage during this stage because their increased height, weight, and strength make it easier for them to excel in physical and contact sports. They are also generally admired, respected and have a greater sense of self-assurance  However, they are more likely to partake in delinquent activities and more frequent sexual activities › Late-maturing males:  Are likely to find it difficult to gain the respect of others and are more tense/ self-conscious c. Complemental hormones - Estrogens- estrogen and estriol—produced in the ovaries and uterus - Androgens- testosterone, dihydrotestosterone, androstenedione, and dyhydorepiandrosterone—produced in the male’s testes - Everyone’s adrenal glands produce the complemental hormones however. - After middle-aged years, a relatively greater concentration of complemental sex hormones remains for both men and women than formerly › Estrogen steadily decreases permanently which makes childbearing impossible (no more eggs) › Men are still able to produce sperm, but in decreasing amounts d. Hormonal dysfunction - When things go wrong in between the sex chromosomes and the hormones of both the mother and the developing fetus, this can cause the abnormal development in the external genitals. The offspring would be genetically one sex but appear as the other associated gender because of hormones. C. Psychophysiology - Refers to sensory, perceptual, and cognitive response in relation to the physiological state of a person - Most physical sensory capacity differences are considered sex- linked traits 1. Seeing a. Female-male color vision difference - Visual acuity, the ability to see details, is better for males in the daylight and better for females at night - It is thought that women were better gatherers because they are more sensitive to red colors while men were better at hunting because they are more sensitive to green colors and have faster reaction time to visual stimuli b. Facial recognition - Females are more sensitive to human faces and can more easily interpret their emotions 2. Skin Sensitivity - Women have a greater sensitivity around the time of ovulation and are in general more aware of sensation differences - For females, holding hands and being touched or caressed mean more to them than males because they are more positively reactive to touch. 3. Pain Sensation - Estrogen increases body pain sensitivity, while androgens reduce the sense of pain (remember, both genders are equipped with these complemental hormones). 4. Smelling - Sense of smell is more sensitive in females than males - it is hypothesized that women have keener smelling features to ensure the survival of their offspring (baby changing and detecting danger). 5. Tasting - Women more easily sense bitter, salt, and sour and find them less pleasing in foods then males - taste preference varies during a woman’s menstrual cycle (greater preference of sweets). During pregnancy they switch to salty, bitter, and sour to encourage the consumption of more wholesome foods for the development of their offspring. 6. Hearing - Although the internal hearing organ of women is smaller, its energy output to the brain is greater than that of a male. - Females are able to hear a wider range of sounds, including those at low levels - Males can process more complex sounds (like music) because this part of their brain is more specialized - As males get older, their hearing decreases greater than females. 7. Time-Motion Ability - In time and motion discrimination situations, such as catching a fast-pitched baseball, males tend to be more accurate than females. - Studies of simulated time-to-impact car-collision situations indicated that females estimated that it would happen sooner than males estimated 8. Visual-Spatial Perception - This is the 3-D mental manipulation of shapes in space - Males are generally better at these tasks the females D. Brain Physical Differences - A woman’s brain is smaller than that of a male just as their body size is smaller in general - Females tend to recover better from injuries in specific parts of the brain. This suggests that the female brain is more flexible and can take over functions more readily › If females can recover more completely, then they can remain better fit to care for offspring E. General Behavior - Common cross cultural behaviors in girls are those that increase the survivability of offspring (i.e. playing with baby dolls) - Males tend to participate in more cooperative group games that develop personal dominance - These behaviors emerge quite universally in both genders and indicated that there is strong biological basis. PART 2: The Psychosocial Bases of Gender A. Gender as a Social Construct - Gender assignment: a sexual label given to each of us at birth according to our visible external genital structure - Gender role: refers to how we are expected to behave, dress, talk, and associate with others as a male or female - Gender-role identity: how much we personally identify with the social characteristics of maleness or femaleness regardless of our genital structures B. Psychological and Social Bases 1. Gender Identity - The perception of each person’s differences in female and male anatomy and behavior. This is often linked to self esteem (feeling of personal confidence of oneself) 2. Gender Roles - Western societies have pushed towards merging conventional gender roles. Making behaviors that were formerly considered masculine or feminine appropriate for both genders - Sexual reproduction takes only a small portion of most people’s lives, by switching from the use of sex to gender we can reduce the emphasis od reproduction - Life revolves around the psychosocial aspect of our degree od female/male-ness 3. Gender Typicality - The degree of cultural maleness of femaleness people show from social conditioning and gender-role identity - androgyny: moderate identification and typing with both maleness and femaleness. C. Gender Differences 1. Gender-Role Issues a. Conflict - In traditional roles, separation was often a result of miscommunication or complete lack of it - Younger males in traditional roles tend to experience more gender role conflict with women than the older generation of males because they have lived their life in these traditional roles b. Gender-role and self-esteem - “found a greater number of androgynous women than androgynous men. This is not surprising because the rewards in society are generally higher for traditional male behaviors of independence and assertiveness, rather than female behaviors of support and dependence.” c. Gender-role perception and sexual orientation - There is a common misconception that lesbian women are more androgynous than heterosexual women, however it is only because they have high ratings on the positive attributes of independence and self-concept 2. Relationships a. Intimacy - Communication subjects: topical (safe objects and events outside of a person); relational (aspects of the relationship); personal (personal opinion and emotions) - Males communicate mainly about the topical while women communicate on all three levels. - To resolve conflict: females pursue conversation about the issues; men withdraw and escape having to talk about it. b. Differences in friendship - Same gender friendships among women are rated higher in overall intimacy, quality of, enjoyment, and nurturance - Males rate cross gender friendships as higher in those areas (with the exception of intimacy) in their relationship with females rather than males. - Both males and females stated that cross-gender friendships helped them them gain new understandings and perspective of the opposite gender. c. Differences in intimate touch - Females engage in more physical intimacy with their female friends and male partners than men - women are more “person-centered” meaning a woman’s goal is to give affection to her partner in a committed relationship. › Want more activities that demonstrate love and intimacy - Men are more “body-centered” their goal in sex is physical gratification and sexual arousal › Men can separate sex from love more easily than women d. Degree of commitment - Willingness to engage and remain in agreement is a commitment - women seem better at working at relationships than men are by discussing issues and sticking with their partners, while men tend toward abandonment and unwillingness to work at relationships. - Commitment is associated with greater satisfaction, greater investments, and a view that any alternative relationship to the present committed relationship was a poorer choice. - Responses to jealousy: men want to protect their self-esteem while women want to protect the relationship e. Perspective on extramarital affairs - Men are able to enjoy sex without love, because of this, they can engage in sexual relationships outside of marriage and still love their wives. - Women are more likely to approve of love love justification than just sexual justifications for affairs. f. Romanticism and reality - Romanticism is passion, adventure, and irrational idealism, while realism is acceptance of the way events really are. They suffer from disillusionment - Men: are more unrealistically romantic in relationships, they often see their partner as near perfect - Women: are more accepting of flaws (mistakes, nuisances, and not-so-good days) g. Helping behavior - Female gender role stresses nurturing and caring › they are more likely to help those they have a close and more personal relationship with. (their children and family) - studies indicate that males help others more than women › the difference is that they are more willing to help strangers h. Responding to threat - Males tend to react physically. This is because they tend to form loose relationships - females form more intimate/ personal relationships; therefore, they react in a less direct form of aggression. Females will unite with other females to exclude a female she perceives as threatening. 3. Personal Identity - Who are we? What are we? Where do we belong? What do we want? › Males gain identity from activity, employment and occupation › Females define themselves by personal relationships and responsibilities to their friends, families, and significant others. - In early adolescence: we experience an identity crisis “who am I?” this stage of our life is described as the thespian (or theatrical) stage, - Not knowing what you want to be is the stage of identity diffusion - Then one develops intimacy from isolation - “oasis”: when we move emotionally and mentally towards out peers and spend time with them because they have similar interests - “wandering”: become more secure in themselves and are no longer dependent on the approval of others, we begin to trust that we know what is best for us. 4. Morality - Woman see morality as caring and seeing to the personal welfare of others, this makes them more willing to “cut you a break” to ensure that your well-being is maintained. - Men “go by the book” and see what is fair in a non personal way PART 3: Gender Orientation Gender orientation refers to gender individuals who are attracted to each other emotionally, romantically and sexually A. Heterosexuality: Why Sexual Reproduction? - Sexual reproduction allows for genetic adjustments as the environment changes. These survival traits are them passed on (asexual reproduction identical to each other leaving little room for improvement) - Sexual reproduction, then, has become the most effective way to reproduce the human species, with built-in possibilities to continue to advance with greater adaptability to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world. B. Homosexuality: A Way of Life, Not a Lifestyle - Just as “lefties” live in a right-handed world where everything is catered towards them, homosexually live in a heterosexual dominated world. - This however is a life, not just a lifestyle. This is more than a choice, it is who they are. C. Homophobia: Sexual Prejudice 1. Fear in Others - Heterosexual men in general are more likely to have homophobic attitudes. They are less comfortable with same-gender touch than women - men are often seen as “more feminine” rather than androgynous 2. Health Implications - Many adolescents do not feel vulnerable to AIDS because it is seen as a STD among homosexuals (this however is not true, unprotected sex among same and different sex relationships makes one susceptible to AIDS) - Much of homophobia stems from ignorance and a lack of interaction with homosexual persons 3. Sexual Practices - Many heterosexuals don’t like to imagine the sexual activities of homosexuals, however, heterosexual couples that engage in liberal sexual activity have no cause to question homosexual sexual activity 4. Unfounded Fears of Seduction - It is possible to engage in homosexual activities when removed form the opposite gender and still be a heterosexual once the opposite gender is reintroduced 5. Unwillingness to Protect a Minority - In western society, we protect the rights of individuals, this protection should be extended to LGBT and their consenting partners. 6. Religious Tradition - Pre-scientific beliefs from various cultures still survive unchallenged by critical thinking (i.e. homophobia) D. Gender Differences That Do Not Make a Difference - Research shows that gender issues caused by the apparent differences may not even exist if individual differences between genders are brought into consideration. › Males may have been given environmental advantages in academic performance in school. Perhaps they were given extra attention because they are generally not as good of students as females. › Because women are more socially connected, perhaps the women accepted the help from others as a way to advance personally. In contrast, the men could have perceived themselves as less competent and then suffered from loss of self-esteem. E. Beyond Gender - A person’s female/male sexual assignment for reproduction is biologically based, gender is a cultural construct of psychosocial factors. its components can change across a person’s lifetime. - Biological knowledge and technical advances have allowed women to become more than human reproductive machines. - Hopefully, a time will come when we can enter into a relationship fully, with little regard for where we find ourselves on the gender continuum and just enjoy each other as unique individuals


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