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Chapter 14

developmental psych chapter 14

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PSYC 2450
Jennifer Mc Taggart

Developmental Chapter 14 Sex Differences and Similarities, Gender-Role Development and Sexual Behaviour Defining Sex and Gender  Gender typing – process by which a child becomes aware of his or her gender and acquires motives, values, and behaviours considered appropriate for members of that sex Categorizing Males and Females: Gender-Role Standards  Gender-Role Standard – behaviour, value, or motive that members of a society consider more typical or appropriate for members of one sex - Expected behaviour that reflects the stereotypes of the members of each sex  Expressive Role – social prescription, usually directed toward females, that one should be cooperative, kind, nurturing, and sensitive to the needs of others - Females: child bearers, wives, and mothers  Instrumental Role – social prescription, usually directed toward males, that one should be dominant, independent, assertive, competitive, and goal-oriented - Males: husband, father, protective role and providing role - These role prescriptions occur in many – but not all - societies - Leads to the assumptions that most females contain expressive traits and most males contain instrumental traits Some Facts and Fictions about Sex Differences Verbal Ability - Girls have greater verbal abilities than boys, they acquire language and develop verbal skills at an earlier age and display a small and consistent advantage on reading comprehension and speech fluency - Females outscore males on math tests that require verbal strategies Visual/Spatial Abilities  Visual/Spatial Abilities – abilities to mentally manipulate or otherwise draw inferences about pictorial information - Boys outperform girls on visual/spatial abilities, the advantage isn’t large Mathematical Ability - Boys show a small consistent advantage over girls in arithmetical reasoning - Girls succeed boys in computational skills - Boys outperform girls on complex word problems, geometry, and mathematics section of the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT) Aggression - Boys are more physically and verbally aggressive than girls starting as early as age 2 - Girls are more likely to display covert forms of hostility toward others (snubbing or ignoring, undermining relationships and social status…) - Boys more likely to engage in antisocial and violent behaviours - Males charged with violent crimes far exceeds females (88% versus 12% for females) Activity Level - Boys are more physically active than girls throughout childhood and adolescence, especially when interacting with peers Fear, Timidity, and Risk-Taking - Girls are more fearful and timid in uncertain situations than boys are - Girls are more cautious and less assertive in uncertain situations - Boys take more risks than girls Developmental Vulnerability - Boys are more physically vulnerable than girls to prenatal an perinatal hazards and to the effects of disease - Boys are more likely to display a variety of developmental problems such as reading disabilities, speech defects, hyperactivity, emotional disorders, and mental retardation Emotional Expressivity/Sensitivity - Infants, boys and girls do not differ much - Toddlerhood boys are more likely to express one emotion (anger) which girls express all other emotions - Boys appear no less empathetic or compassionate than girls when studied in naturalistic settings - Boys prosocial behaviour: general - Girls prosocial behaviour: restricted to friendship or inner circles Compliance and Self-esteem - Boys less compliant than girls, boys are more demanding and girls are more likely to politely suggest - Boys are slightly higher in global self-esteem, more noticeable in adolescence Do Cultural Myths Contribute to Sex Differences in Ability?  Self-Fulfilling Prophecy – phenomenon whereby people cause others to act in accordance with the expectations they have about those others - Promotes sex differences in cognitive performance and steers boys and girls along different career paths Home Influences - Parents can expect their sons to outperform their daughters in math and science - Parents attribute son’s success in math to ability and daughter’s to hard work - Children internalize their parent’s views, boys feel more confident and daughters feel more anxious or depressed - Girls become less interested in math and less likely to pursue career possibilities that involve math Developmental Trends in Gender Typing  Gender Identity – our awareness of our gender and its implications - Knowledge that one is either a boy or a girl and that gender is an unchanging attribute Gender-role stereotyping – ideas about what males and females are supposed to be like Gender-typed – the child’s tendency to favour same-sex activities over those normally associated with the other sex Adolescent Thinking about Gender Stereotypes and Roles  Gender Intensification – magnification of sex differences early in adolescence; associated with increased pressure to conform to traditional gender roles - Large contributors: parental influence, peer influence, social pressure  Gender Segregation – children’s tendency to associate with same-sex playmates and to think of the other sex as an out-group - Begins age 2 for girls, age 3 for boys, becomes stronger each year Theories of Gender Typing and Gender-Role Development Evolutionary Theory - Men and women face different evolutionary pressures over the course of history and the natural selection process conspired to create fundamental differences - Men and women should differ in any domain in which they have faced different adaptive problems throughout evolution Criticisms - Ignores differences that are limited to particular cultures or historical periods - Psychological differences do not reflect biologically evolved dispositions - due to: roles cultures assign to men and women, and agreed upon socialization practices to promote traits in boys and girls Biosocial Overview of Gender Differentiation - Critical events that affect a person’s preference for a gender role - First: whether child inherits an X or a Y chromosome - Second: if child is male, the testes secrete testosterone - Third: testosterone leads to growth of penis & scrotum - If testosterone is
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