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Chapter 4

PSYCH354R Chapter Notes - Chapter 4: Sex Organ, Libido, Subcutaneous Tissue

by

Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYCH354R
Professor
Denise Marigold
Chapter
4

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PSYCH 354R
Men and Woman, Gay and Straight
Sex and Gender
- The term sex refers to whether an individual is male or female biologically.
- The term gender refers to a person’s nonbiological and nonphysiological attitudes,
characteristics and behaviours that are viewed as masculine or feminine.
- A person’s biological sex is fixed; you are either male or female, and that usually does
not change. Gender, on the other hand, is more fluid.
- In the womb, females and males develop primary sex characteristics (i.e., different
chromosomes, sex hormones, internal structures, and external genitalia) that are needed
for sexual reproduction.
- Different secondary sex characteristics (e.g., breasts, finer skin, and more
subcutaneous fat for females; facial hair, deep voice and greater musculature for
males) develop later.
- They further distinguish the two sexes anatomically and facilitate
courtship and mate selection.
- These primary and secondary sex characteristics are embedded and experienced
within historical and cultural circumstances, which produce the social behaviours
men and women typically learn and the situations in which they are permitted to
display them. These behaviours are referred to as tertiary sex characteristics.
- Beyond its importance for individual identity, biological sex is also important in
intimate relationships.
- Most of us choose partners first and foremost on the basis of whether the other
person shares or does not share our identity as a male or female.
- Although the field of eligible partners is usually determined by biological sex,
once that criterion is fulfilled, many other factors then determine which partner
we form a relationship with.
- And once a stable relationship has formed, we might start asking some pointed
questions about where sex ends and gender begins
- Hundreds of studies have been conducted to examine how males and
females compare on a wide range of traits and characteristics.
- In a meta-analysis, researchers combine all known studies relating one variable – in this
case, biological sex – to another variable or characteristic (e.g., empathy, aggression, sex
drive), and reduce the findings to a single number indicating the degree of similarity or
difference between males and females one particular characteristic.
- d statistic  Because any one study can be unusual or biased in some unique
way, averaging scores from many studies will provide a more reliable estimate.
- When d=0, it means men and women do not differ on the characteristic
in question.
- But when d deviates from zero, we can conclude men and women do
differ.
- Negative d values indicate that females score higher than males on the
specified dimension; positive value indicates that opposite.

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- Males and females do differ, though we must acknowledge that the magnitude of these
differences varies with the characteristic in question, and with the specific variable being
considered within that characteristic.
- Regardless of the domain, differences between women and men are not large.
- Among tertiary sex characteristics, the differences are not as readily
apparent as for primary and secondary sex differences, because they are no
that large.
- Males and females are more similar than dissimilar, and strong claims to
the contrary are not warranted.
- Thus, the real but slight tendency for one-half of our species to be more
physically and verbally aggressive, and more assertive, and more inclined to hold
permissive attitudes about sex can, in the aggregate, create overlapping but
distinct spheres in which males and females conduct their daily lives.
- Women and men had to adapt to some different problems, and according to evolutionary
psychology, those adaptions contributed to differences between the sexes.
- To understand these differences, it is crucial to remember that males and females
differ in how they invest in their offspring (theory of parental investment).
- For women, offspring require the use of limited reproductive resources, a
significant investment in time, and a tremendous amount of energy (from
the actual birth and beyond).
- Men, in contrast, donate from a limitless supply of sperm with no
comparable obligations and encumbrances.
- According to the evolutionary perspective, these reproductive realities have
important implications for the kinds of mates that males and females prefer.
- Females will prefer males who are willing and able to provide resources
for their protection and that of their offspring.
- Males, because the success of their reproductive efforts is limited
primarily by the availability of healthy and fertile females, will tend to
select mates on the basis of physical attraction and youthfulness. And
because they fail to benefit from investing resources in children fathered
by others, males will seek mates who are likely to be trustworthy and
faithful.
- Even against a backdrop of remarkably diverse cultures, a study showed that
males and females express preferences for mates that are consistent with the
different investments they make in reproduction: Women want status and
resources, and men are attuned to cues of fertility (Buss 1989).
- A study by social psychologist David Schmitt and his colleagues showed that
across all regions, males would like to have more partners than would females,
that males would be more likely than females to have sex after knowing the
partner for one month, and that more ales than females were actively looking for a
short-term mate, regardless of their current relationship status.
- When understood from an evolutionary viewpoint, these findings indicate that
men are oriented toward ensuring that they are investing resources in a child who
will carry their genes into the next generation, whereas women are oriented
toward ensuring that the mate will invest his resources in her (and their offspring)
and not someone else.
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- Other observed differences between men and women may stem not from how
they attract and retain mates but from how they compete with other members of
their own sex to gain some advantage in the mating marketplace. This behavior is
known as intrasexual competition.
- Aggression, for example, probably proved advantageous for males when
jockeying for the attention of the relatively discriminating females.
- Women are certainly not free from using tactics that will attract mates,
but instead of aggression they rely on enhancing cues that signal their
youth and health or putting down other females.
- In short, the evolutionary perspective explains human gender differences by
highlighting the different problems males and females faced in our ancestral past.
- According to social structural theory, male-female differences in the division of labor
are profoundly important for two reasons. One reason focuses on how differences in the
division of labor affect expectations for the in society that men and women should fill,
and the second focuses on the steps men and women then take to meet these expectations.
- First, given that there are differences between males and females in the division
of labor, we form expectations regarding how people of each sex should behave.
- To the extent that women are more likely than men to occupy roles
characterized by communal or domestic behaviors - kindergarten teachers
or nurses – then it follows that the female role will be identified with
caretaking, selflessness, and friendliness.
- New generations of girls are socialized into these roles
- Similarly, to the extent that men are more likely than women to occupy
roles in which they are action- and task-oriented or are authority figures –
college professors or mechanics – then the male role is defined
accordingly, and we expect men to behave in ways that are consistent with
those roles.
- Further, when people go outside these prescribed roles, they may
encounter friction.
- A second way the division of labor contributes to sex differences involves the
idea that males and females recognize the roles that are available to them in a
given culture, and they learn or acquire the skills and experiences that will qualify
them to compete for and fulfill these roles.
- In our society, and in virtually all societies in which males and females
have a hierarchical relationship with one another, males adopt the
dominant role and females adopt the subordinate role.
- The idea of power – which can be defined as an individual’s
capacity to alter the behavior and experiences of others, while also
resisting the influence of others – crops up in a variety of ways
when we discuss intimate relationships.
- Different male and female behaviors can be viewed through the lens of social
roles, men engage in behaviors that establish and reinforce their superior position
in the social hierarchy; in contrast, women engage in behaviors that promote
cooperation, nurturing of others, and adaption to the inferior role to which they
are assigned.
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