Psychology 2035A/B Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Skipping Rope, Resocialization, X Chromosome

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October 26, 2015
Psych 2035: Lecture (Chapter 11)
Sex & Gender - Becoming Male or Female: The Role of Biology and Socialization
Are you male or are you female?
Part 1: Reproductive Biology (Prenatal Sexual Differentiation) — see also ch. 12
-Begins at conception (sperm fertilizes egg)
-Mother’s egg, containing 23 chromosomes, (‘X’ sex chromosome)
-Father’s sperm, also containing 23 chromosomes, (‘X’ or ‘Y’ sex chromosome)
-If X sperm fertilizes egg: genetic female (XX)
-If Y sperm fertilizes egg: genetic male (XY)
-This is called the A. The Genetic Factor
-The first step to becoming male or female
B. The Gonadal Factor (development of reproductive organs: testes or ovaries)
-Depends on Y chromosome:
-If present, it:
-Stimulates development of testes
-Inhibits development of ovaries
Problems: “True Hermaphrodism”:
-Genetic females (XX); with tiny piece of Y chromosome attached (XXy)
-Y is big enough to stimulate development of testes, not big enough to inhibit development of
ovaries (therefore BOTH)
C. The Hormonal Factor (development of sex organs: penis or clitoris)
-If the individual has testes, large quantities of androgens are produced
-When androgens are present, penis develops (this is sometimes called the ‘Adam
Principle’
-When androgens are absent, clitoris develops (this is sometimes called the ‘Eve Principle’
Problems:
-The Adrenogenital Syndrome:
-Genetic females with normal XX chromosome and normal ovaries with unusually active
adrenal glands (produce androgens)
-Fetus develops sex organs that appear to be ‘male’ (clitoris is enlarged, looks like small
penis)
-The Androgen-Insensitivity Syndrome:
-Genetic males with normal testes that produce normal levels of androgens
-But body is insensitive to androgens; body doesn’t respond… it is as if androgens are not
present
-Sex organs have ‘female’ appearance (penis looks like clitoris; scrotum looks like vagina,
but lacks depth; testes remain up inside body)
-If everything goes as planned, you are now a biological ‘male’ or ‘female’ (prenatal sexual
differentiation is complete)
-BUT, for the next decade, you can’t reproduce!
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October 26, 2015
D. The Puberty Factor (involves hormones)
-Girls (age 10-12); Boys (age 12-14)
-Age has been noted recently to be decreasing
(a) Development of Secondary Sex Characteristics:
-Boys and girls: pubic hair, growth spurt
-Girls: breast development
-Boys: facial hair, deeper voice, larger penis
(b) Gonads (reproductive organs) mature:
-Menstruation in girls (mature eggs are released from ovaries)
-The first ejaculation in boys (production of mature sperm from testes)
Part 2: Our Two Basic Identities
(1) Sexual Identity: whether you are biologically male or female
(2) Gender Identity: perception of self as ‘male’ or ‘female’; beliefs about what it means to be a
male or female
-‘Gender Roles’: expectations about how males and females should behave
-These gender roles are given to you by society
-Nearly every society expects males and females to be different
-Our society is no exception
Consider ‘gender stereotypes’…
When people are asked to list the characteristics of the average man and woman, the
characteristics are never the same
What are the characteristics of the average ‘man’ and ‘woman’ in our society?
-Women: The “Communal Dimension”
-aka. expressive, socially-oriented, feminine dimension
-Attributes include caring, nurturant, affectionate, helpful…
-Men: The “Agentic Dimension”
-aka. instrumental, task-oriented, masculine
-Attributes include aggressive, dominant, independent, self-reliant…
A father and his son are involved in a car accident, both are seriously injured and taken to
different hospitals… as the son is prepared for surgery, surgeon says he cannot operate on this
patient: he’s my son..
-How can the father be in 2 places at the same time??
-The surgeon is a female….
Two questions:
(a) Are these gender stereotypes accurate?
-They contain a ‘kernel of truth’ (see figure 11.7 on p. 330)
(b) Where do these differences come from? Why are women more communal and men more
agentic?
-Might depend on biology (see TB, p. 331-333)
-Also depends on how we are socialized (must learn to be males and females)
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