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Lecture 8

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Brock University
Child and Youth Studies
Anthony Volk

CHYS 2P10 1 4 March 2013 Child and Youth Development: Lecture Eight Sexual Development Defining Sex and Gender (the two are typically strongly correlated) Sex: a person’s biological identity; chromosomes, physical identity, and hormones Gender: a person’s social and cultural identity; the expression of your biological sex Puberty over Historical Time  In 1860, women typically began menstruation between the ages of 15 and 16  But in 1980, the average age is approaching 11  Thus, the age of first menstruation is declining as time progresses Factors Influencing Pubertal Timing  Increased health and nutrition appear to be the largest contributors to trend for puberty to begin at lower ages  Menstruation can be “halted” if there aren’t enough energy reserves (athletes or extreme diets)  Menarche delayed by low levels of nutrition (as is menstruation)  Adult height permanently stunted by poor nutrition Adolescence, Puberty, and Sexual Development  Aspects of rearing environment can affect the reproductive strategy of girls  The rate of pubertal maturation in girls is affected by:  Socio-emotional stress  Maternal relationship  Father absence and relationship quality with father  See figure 4.8 “Two Developmental Pathways of Reproductive Strategies  Early maturing girls experience more emotional problems and behavioural problems relative to other girls  These are likely caused by being drawn into an adult world or adult context before she is developmentally adapted to these types of situation  Early maturing boys experience positive and negative outcomes of their development  Possible delinquent behaviours  Longitudinal research suggests that late maturing bus may benefit from having additional time to develop social and intellectual skills  For example, they have better/longer lasting relationships that are more meaningful once they start to date  See figure 4.9 “Early-Maturing Girls are More Likely to be Frequent Users of Tobacco”  Girls who start menstruation at age 10 or under are more likely to be exposed to tobacco Why have two sexes?  This is the fundamental question – are the two sexes simply cultural constructs?  Obviously not – sex is genetic  So then the obvious question is “why have two sexes?”  Sexual reproduction produces greater diversity, parasite resistance, and reduces negative mutations Evolution and Sex  The two sexes may not necessarily have the same reproductive interests  This can lead to divergent evolutionary adaptations, as each sex seeks to maximize its own reproductive fitness Are the two sexes equal in their reproductive fitness?  On average, men and women have the same amount of children  But there is variance  Infertility is generally the reason that children don’t have children  Men can have multiple wives and therefore can bear more children  Men have a greater chance of having more babies  When he look across societies, we see that about 85% of them are polygamous Success of Women Success of Men  The world record for having the most  The most prolific father of all time is number of children officially recorded is 69 believed to be the last Sharifian Emperor by the first of two wives of Feodor of Morocco, Mulai Ismail (1646-1727) Vassilyey (1707-1782), a peasant from  In 1725, he had at least 342 daughters and Shuya (east of Moscow) 525 sons and by 1721 he had 700 male  In 27 confinements, she gave birth to 16 descendants pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets, and 4 sets  A study in 2003 suggested that up to 16 of quadruplets million people worldwide (.5% of men and 8% of Asian men) were descended from Genghis Khan and his relatives Conclusion? Males can experience much more variance than women! Big Five Personality Traits (based on the hypothetical role we play) 1. Neuroticism – stability 2. Extroversion – introversion 3. Openness to experience – unopenness 4. Agreeableness – antaganism  How likely are you to engage in conflict? 5. Consciousness – undirectedness  Following rules, paying attention, following through and then the opposite CHYS 2P10 3 4 March 2013 Why these sex differences?  As adults, women are the primary caregivers of children in every society (mothers)  It makes sense for mothers to worry more (neuroticism), be more dependable (consciousness), and be less aggressive (antagonistic) when looking after children  When men have children, their testosterone levels drop and their agreeableness spikes Textbook Sex Differences  Small but reliable psychological differences between sexes:  Verbal ability (women show an advantage in reading, verbal memory and skills)  Visual/spatial abilities (men tend to have greater capacities for this, like catching a ball)  Mathematical ability (although this is not really true)  Aggression – overt versus covert – rumors and gossip vs. physicality (not really true) Other Possible Sex Differences  Activity level (men tend to be more active)  Fear, timidity, and risk taking (related to neuroticism – men more lik
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