Psy Beh 121 - Lecture Supplements.docx

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University of California - Irvine
Psychology and Social Behavior
Joanne Zinger

Lecture Supplements: Questions Independent Readings: Chapter 1 - Sex and Gender (2-3) o Sexual behavior defined as an activity that produced arousal and increases the chance of orgasm o Sex (sexual behavior and anatomy) is distinct from gender, but gender does influence sex - The Media (6-7) o The mass media carry extensive portrayals of sexuality and are a powerful influence on most people’s understanding of sexuality  Cultivation: the notion that people begin to think that what they see on TV and in other media really represents the mainstream of what happens in their culture  Agenda setting: news reports select what to report/ emphasize and what to ignore  Social learning: characters in movies/ novels may serve as models whom we imitate, possibly without even realizing it - The Sexual Health Perspective (20) o New international movement focuses on sexual health (including sexual physical health, sexual mental health, positive relationships) and the principles of sexual rights Questions: Chapter 1 1. Describe the variations in sexual technique described in lecture, including kissing, cunnilingus, inflicting pain, frequency of intercourse, and postpartum sex. - Kissing: o There are some societies in which kissing is unknown o Variations: sucking the lips and tongue of the partner, permitting saliva to flow from one mouth to the other - Cunnilingus: o Fairly common in our society and occurs in a few other societies (esp. in the South Pacific) o Variations: Man places a fish in the vulva and gradually licks it out - Inflicting pain: o Women biting off bits of their partner’s eyebrows, noisily spitting them aside o People of various societies bite their partners to the point of drawing blood and leaving scars o Most commonly, men and women mutually inflict pain on each other - Frequency of intercourse (for married couples) o Varies considerably from one culture to the next  Irish natives of Inis Beag: once or twice a month  Mangaians: several times a night, at least among the young  Santals: as often as five times per day, every day, early in marriage  U.S.: in the middle compared with other societies - Postpartum sex o Almost every society has a postpartum sex taboo (prohibition on sexual intercourse for a period of time after a woman has given birth)  Taboo lasts from a few days to more than a year 2. What is known about cross-cultural attitudes toward masturbation? - Varies widely across cultures - Some societies tolerate/ encourage it during childhood and adolescence - Other societies condemn it at any age - Almost all societies express some disapproval of adult masturbation o Can range from mild ridicule to severe punishment - At least some adults in all societies appear to practice it - Female masturbation occurs in other societies 3. What is known about cross-cultural attitudes toward premarital and extramarital sex? - Societies differ considerably in their rules regarding premarital sex o Marquesans: boys and girls have participated in a wide range of sexual experiences before puberty  First experience with intercourse occurs with a partner who is 30 to 40  Mothers are proud if their daughters have many lovers o Egyptians of Siwa: a girl’s clitoris is removed at 7 or 8 to decrease her potential for sexual excitement/ intercourse  Premarital sex brings shame on the family - Extramarital sex is complex and conflicted for most cultures o Ranks second to incest as the most strictly prohibited type of sexual contact o One study found that it was forbidden for one or both partners in 74% of cultures surveyed o Even when permitted, it’s subjected to regulation  Most common restriction: allowed for husbands but not wives 4. Describe the cross-cultural differences in attitudes toward sex with same gender partners as well as the three rules that seem to emerge across all cultures. - Wide range of attitudes o Societies that strongly disapprove for people of any age o Societies that tolerate the behavior for children but disapprove of it in adults o Afew societies have a formalized role for the adult gay man that gives him status and dignity - Three rules: o Found universally in all societies o Men are more likely to engage in this behavior o Never the predominant form of sexual behavior for adults in any of the societies studied 5. What is known about cross-cultural standards of attractiveness? - Region of body considered important varies o In some societies, an elongated labia majora is considered sexually attractive o Shape/ color of the eyes o Shape of the ears - Plump or thin? o Most cultures prefer plump women over then women - Poor complexion considered unattractive o This is universal 6. What the differences between more and less educated people in terms of masturbation and abortion? How about differences between Whites,African-Americans, Latinos, andAsian-Americans? - Those who have advanced degrees are approx. twice as likely to have masturbated (in the last year) as those who did not finish high school - Abortions rates rise from 5% for those who did not complete high school to 14% for those who hold advanced degrees o Possible that one’s sexuality influences one’s social class o Getting an abortion may allow women to continue their education - African Americans: Less masturbation (men), less oral sex performed (women) - Latinos: Latina women less likely to masturbate - AsianAmericans: Fewer partners, fewer same-sex Independent Readings: Chapter 2 - Learning Theory and Sexual Orientation in a Non-Western Society (31) o Concept of homosexuality identity nonexistent in Sambia culture o Young males expected to spend 10 years in exclusively homosexual relationships (taught to fear women), then are expected to marry women o According to John & Janice Baldwin, this can be explained by social learning theory o Positive conditioning in the direction of heterosexuality occurs early in life  At the same time, has a close, warm relationship with mother; positive feelings for women o Observational learning: observes heterosexual relationship between mom and dad during early years o Provided with cognitive structuring to convince him that it’s perfectly natural and desirable to engage in sex with men then switch to women  Taught that he must pass through a series of stages to become a strong, masculine man o Some aversive conditioning to the homosexual behavior; leads it to be not particularly erotic - Sociological Perspectives (34-38) o Macro level: influences from powerful social institutions  Religion: abstinence; procreational ideology  The economy: industrial revolution = less sexual surveillance from family (affairs and same- gender sex); unemployment = reluctance to marry, sex outside of marriage; buying sex  The family: increased emphasis on quality of interpersonal relationships in the family; love linked with sex; relational ideology; socialization of children  Medicine: physicians dictate what is healthy and unhealthy (ex: masturbation then and now); childbirth; therapeutic ideology • Medicalization of sexuality: certain or conditions are defined in terms of health and illness, and problematic experiences or practiced are given medical treatment (E.D., female orgasmic dysfunction, etc.)  The law: laws determine norms; laws are the basis for the mechanisms of social control; the law reflects the interests of the powerful, dominant groups (ex: Mormon v. Judeo-Christian) o Symbolic Interaction Theory  Human nature and the social order are products of symbolic communication among people  People can communicate successfully only to the extent that they ascribe similar meanings to objects and people  Woman inviting a date to her apartment: mutual effort required to develop a definition of the situation  Role taking: an individual imagines how they look from the other person’s viewpoint  Criticisms: emphasis on rational/ conscious thought, when emotions may be very important; portrays humans as other-directed individuals concerned with meeting others’standards; we don’t always consciously role take and communicate in an effort to achieve agreement, sometimes we rely on past experiences/ habit. o Sexual Scripts  Sexual behavior is scripted; it’s the result of elaborate prior learning that teaches us an etiquette of sexual behavior  Guidelines for behavior, but individual variations within the guidelines  Scripts guide actions and tell us the meaning we should attach to a particular event (implied sexual activity on TV/ movies) o Reiss argues that all societies regard sexuality as important because it’s associated w/ great physical pleasure and self-disclosure  Sexuality linked to social structure in three areas: the kinship system (sexual jealousy), the power structure (males typically control female sexuality), the ideology of the society (define normal v. abnormal sexual practices) Questions: Chapter 2 1. Describe evolution and natural selection as it relates to human sexuality. - Sociobiology: the application of evolutionary biology to understanding the social behavior of animals, including humans o Since sexual behavior is a form of social behavior, sociobiologists try- often through observations of other species- to understand why certain patterns of sexuality evolved in humans - Sexual strategies theory: females and males face different adaptive problems in short-term (casual) and long- term mating and reproduction, which leads to different strategies/ behaviors designed to solve those problems - Female short-term mating: mate who offers immediate resources (food, money) - Female long-term mating: mate who appears willing and able to provide resources for the indefinite future - Male may choose sexually available females for short-term liaison but avoid them when looking for long-term mate 2. How is judging attractiveness related to an evolutionary perspective of human sexuality? - One major criterion of choosing mates is physical attractiveness - Many of the characteristics used in judging attractiveness (physique, complexion) are indicators of health and vigor, which in turn are probably related to reproductive potential o Less healthy = less likely to produce many vigorous offspring - Natural selection would favor individuals preferring mates w/ max. reproductive success 3. In our evolutionary history, what are some factors that increase reproductive success after mating? - The mother provides continuing physical care, including breast-feeding - The father provides resources and security from attack for mother and infant - Two mechanisms that facilitate these conditions o Pair-bond between mother and father: bond emotionally and have a propensity for attachment o Attachment between infant and parent 4. What is sexual selection? - Selection that creates differences between males and females - Consists of two processes: o Competition among members of one gender (usually males) for mating access to members of the other gender o Preferential choice by members of one gender (usually females) for certain members of the other gender 5. Describe psychoanalytic theory. - Libido: Sex drive, one of the two major forces motivating human behavior - Erogenous zones o The libido being focused in various regions of the body o Sensitive to stimulation; touching it in certain ways produces pleasurable feelings o In each stage of development, a different erogenous zone is the focus 6. Describe learning theory. - Some of the best evidence comes from studies of sexual behavior across different societies - Classical conditioning of sexual arousal (ex: specific cologne paired with sexual activity) - Operant conditioning o Sexual intercourse repeatedly associated with punishment (pain due to vaginal infection), reduces the behavior o Consequences (reinforcement and punishment) are most effective in shaping behavior when they occur immediately after the behavior  Immediate reward (pleasure) of unprotected sex maintains the behavior  Punishment (pain of gonorrhea) doesn’t occur until days later and is ineffective in eliminating the behavior - Social learning theory o Based on principles of operant conditioning, but also recognizes the processes of imitation and identification o Useful in explaining development of gender identity o Various forms of sexuality may be learned through imitation (influence of mass media) o Once a behavior is learned, the likelihood it’s preformed depends on its consequences o Concept of self-efficacy widely used in designing health intervention programs o Can explain birth rates: adults are aware of the fertility outcomes of couples they know/ interact with, which influences their fertility intentions 7. What is social exchange theory? - Uses the concept of reinforcement to explain stability and change in relationships - Views social relationships primarily as exchanges of goods and services among people - Assumes we have freedom of choice and often face choices among alternative actions o Costs (time, effort, money, embarrassment) and rewards (money, goods, services, sexual gratification, approval by others) for every action - We are hedonistic; choose actions that produce profits and avoid actions that produce losses - Participate in a relationship only if it provides profitable outcomes o Judge attractiveness of the relationship by comparing its profits against the profits available in alternative relationships o Comparison level for alternatives: level of outcomes in the best alternative relationship - State of equity exists when people in a relationship believe the rewards they receive from it are proportional to the costs they bear - Matching theory: men and women will choose as mates people who match them on physical and social characteristics 8. How does cognition play a role in sexuality? - Unpleasant thoughts: distortions, exaggerations - Our perception, labeling, and evaluation of events are crucial o Ex: man who does not get an erection while engaging in sexual activity (temporary erection problem v. impotence) Independent Readings: Chapter 6 - Pregnancy (116-124) o Early signs include amenorrhea, tenderness of breasts, nausea o Most common pregnancy tests detect hCG in urine or blood o Physical changes in first trimester due to increasing levels of estrogen and progesterone produced by the placenta o Woman generally feels better (physically and psychologically) during the second trimester o Sexual intercourse is safe up to 4 weeks before delivery o Proper nutrition and maintaining a healthy weight is important o Need to be careful about ingesting drugs because some can penetrate the placental barrier - Infertility (136-138) o Common causes in females  Most common: pelvic inflammatory disease caused by a STD  Problems with ovulation  Blockage of fallopian tubes  Cervical mucus that blocks the passage of sperm  Age, weight, poor nutrition, eating disorders, exposure to toxic chemicals, smoking, alcohol/ narcotic/ barbiturate use o Common causes in males  Most common : infections in the reproductive system caused by STDs  Low sperm count  Low motility of the sperm  Exposure to toxins, alcohol/ marijuana use, use of some prescription
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