PSYC 5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 16: Ethnocentrism, Cognitive Development, Feminist Theory
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Psychological Aspects of Human Sexuality
- Roles are monolithic (there are other masculinities and femininities; ignores differences
based on race, ethnicity, age, religion, region and sexuality).
- Ignores differences in role expectations, power and privilege.
- Focuses on gendered individual and ignores gendered institutions.
- Does not examine women’s and men’s situations and how they feel about them (gender
● Social learning (Bandura, 1986)
- Preference for same-sex relations between 4-5 years.
- Acquisition of skills through: external reinforcement and modelling.
- Stimulus generalization and sex-typing and their significance.
● Cognitive development theory
- Piaget: Mental development takes place in orderly and discrete stages in childhood
from birth to 11 years and up. Children follow a particular sequence of tasks and mental
processes. They learn differently from adults and perceive things in their own way
according to various ages.
- Piaget’s stages of cognitive development:
o Sensori-motor (birth-2 years)
o Pre-operational (2-7 years)
o Concrete operational (7-11 years)
o Formal operational (11 years and up)
- Kohlberg (influenced by Piaget): Children ‘learn’ gender cognitively based on the way
they process information. They are born gender neutral and acquire gender identity by
filtering and interpreting information about gender (3 and 4 years) through self
socialization. Children learn through cues associated with the genders (dress, hairstyle,
o Gender identity is fixed through the process, so identification as girl/boy is
o Develop gender constancy by age five or six. Children see the world in gender
terms after age six and engage in self-socialization.
o Have a gender label without content at age six because there is no relationship
between gender identity and gender roles.
● Feminist criticisms
- Women envy male dominance, not male anatomy (penis envy).
- Womb envy: the origins of women’s subordination stem from men’s fears of women’s
reproductive powers (in contrast to ‘penis envy’).