Chapter 13 – Gender and Development
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
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’
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
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
o Girls are healthier than boys
More likely to survive prenatal development (WIN)
Differences in Intellectual Abilities
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.”
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
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.
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
May be due to anxiousness that girls feel since they expect to do worse than
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
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.