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Chapter 13

Chapter 13 - Gender and Development

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University of Guelph
PSYC 2450
Heidi Bailey

Chapter 13 – Gender and Development Gender Stereotypes Beliefs about males and females differ in personality traits, interests, and behaviours. How do we View Men and Women?  Men are said to be independent, competitive, aggressive, outgoing, ambiguous, self-confident and dominant o These traits are called instrumental because they describe individuals who act on the world and influence it.  Women are emotional, kind, creative, considerate, gentle, excitable, and aware of others’ feelings o These traits are called expressive because they describe emotional functioning and individuals who value interpersonal relationships Around the World with 4 Gender Stereotypes Views of roles of women and men change between cultures. Learning Gender Stereotypes  At 18 months girls look at dolls more and boys look at trucks.  At 2 years of age infants stare longer at men completing woman-stereotyped acts.  In elementary school children include personality traits into stereotyped traits.  By 11 children have the same knowledge of gender stereotypes as adults. o They understand that male occupations have higher social status.  Older children are more willing to ignore stereotypes when judging other children.  Girls tend to be more flexible about stereotypes  Middle-class homes are more flexible about gender roles Differences Related to Gender  Maccoby and Jacklin concluded that… o Girls have greater verbal ability o Boys have greater mathematical and visual-spatial ability. They are also more aggressive. o No other differences exist. Differences in Physical Development and Behaviour  Boys often outperform girls because they are larger and stronger; they run faster, jump higher and throw objects further. o As infants, boys are more active than girls. o They are 3 times more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (are you sitting still right now and concentrating?) o More prone to birth complications than girls and diseases and dysfunctions o More likely to engage in risk-taking behaviours (alcohol, and sexual activities)  Girls do better with fine-motor coordination o Girls bodies have more fat than muscle during puberty o Girls spend less time in fitness-related activities/ sports so they don’t develop motor skills. o Girls are healthier than boys  More likely to survive prenatal development (WIN) Differences in Intellectual Abilities Verbal Ability  Girls have larger vocabularies and are more talkative  Boys are more likely to have a reading disability or specific language impairment. o Left hemisphere matures more rapidly in girls known as “lateralization.” Spatial Ability  Mental rotation- the ability to imagine an object after it has moved in space. o Boys are more skilled at this. o Right hemisphere may be more specialized than females. This is not overly persuasive since there is little to no difference and too much overlap between females. o This may be heritable because mental rotation could be used for hunting, an evolutionary advantage. o They participate in activities than increase spatial skill  Puzzles, sports requiring precise trajectories, and video games  Spatial memory- the ability to remember the position of objects in the environment o Females excel at this.  Silverman and Choi (FROM GUELPH!) concluded that… o There is a dual mechanism for spatial navigation  Euclidian (direction and distance) – used more by males  Topography (placement and landmark usage) – used more by females  Amoung lower socio-economic status both boys and girls have similar spatial skill o In middle classes differences appear  Experience and biology both influence special ability. Mathematics  Solving problems and applying math concepts are often better mastered by boys  Initially girls excel in math computation  Boys later excel in math problem solving o These findings are in all industrialized countries. And the results have been constant since the 1960s. o Girls get higher marks in math courses but lower marks on standardized tests for math achievement.  May be due to anxiousness that girls feel since they expect to do worse than boys o Stereotype Stratification- the process of cognitively viewing oneself as a member of a subgroup to which the stereotype does not apply.  Girls feel that adult men are better at math then adult women but that that same stereotype does not occur in kids.  This may hinder girls from pursuing a career in mathematics  Schools thus have engineering clubs for girls and other mathematical programs to increase the involvement of women in math.  Gender gaps between math and science have been narrowing. Differences in Personality and Social Behaviour Aggressive Behaviour Boys are more physically aggressive ( as young as 17 months of age)  It is linked to androgens, hormones secreted by testes o It makes them ore excitable and easily angered.
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