FRHD 2280 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Menarche, Spermarche, Evolutionary Psychology

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Lecture 2: Biological Foundations
Puberty. Derived from the Latin word to grow hairy. Developmental stage where we undergo physical,
social, and emotional changes.
The Endocrine System. Basic system that initiates, facilitates, and maintains changes. Men and women
have both testosterone and estrogen. Its during puberty when these levels change. Happens at different ages for
different people. Has to be a certain amount of fat cells before the hypothalamus is signalled.
Sex Hormones. We all have levels of estrogen and testosterone. At puberty those levels change. Know the
hormones, what signals what, and the different systems for the midterm.
Growth Spurts. Happens for boys and girls. It hurts to grow. Extremities are the first to grow. Leads to
clumsiness, and cognitive worries.
Muscle Mass and Body Fat. More similar then different between males and females. Men tend to build
more muscle and women store body fat.
Sex Characteristics. Primary and secondary characteristics.
Facts about Females. Eggs die off prior to puberty. This drops to 80 000 by puberty. Considered
pruning. Strongest survive maybe? Menstrual cycle around 28 days, and generally release 1 egg on average.
Facts about Males. Do not have sperm when they are born until they are in puberty. Produce millions
of sperm every day. Evolutionary psychology where men are able to reproduce in unlimited quantities.
The Order of Pubertal Events. Girls and boys mature in discrete phases. Proceeds around the same
time.
Pubertal Caveat. Most of the research comes from the western world. When we widen our lens, we see
there are variables in timing of pubertal events. Context matters even though its biological.
Kikuyu Culture in Kenya. Boys show changes before females.
African American Girls. Develop earlier then Caucasian girls.
Chinese Girls. Earlier puberty timing. Know these differences for the midterm.
Sexual Maturation. Menarche and spermarche. Girls are beginning their menstrual cycle earlier and
earlier. Not sure about the reasons. Better nutrition. Better healthcare. Maybe a biological signal that we are
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