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Chapter 12

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PSYC 350
Jason Winters

Psyc 350 Chapter 12 Text Spectrum of sexual orientations - Kinsey scale: a 7 point scale of sexual orientation devised, 0 (hetero) – 6 (homo) - Common finding o More men than women are exclusively homosexual o More women than men represent various degrees of bisexuality Sexual orientation is not an isolated trait - Some gay people promote the idea that they are gender variant: atypical in gender characteristics - Gay people, on average, differ in a number of ways than straight people: o During childhood, gay men tend to be more feminine, while lesbians tend to be very active physically and considered a tom boy at younger ages o In terms of test performance, gay men perform better on female favored test and lesbians perform better in mental rotation and other tasks o Gays and lesbians also tend to be gender nonconformist in their choice of occupations and recreational interests - Gaydar: the ability to recognize gay people on the basis of unconscious behaviors, voice quality, gait, and so on Box 12.1 - Richard Green o Conducted a study to test whether feminine boys have a high chance of becoming gay when they grow up o Control vs. feminine boys o Found that the control boys became heterosexual, while of the feminine boys, majority become gay or bisexual - Take home points o Childhood characteristics are not entirely predictive of adult orientation, even for these extreme gender-nonconformist kids o Most gay men do not have a history of such radical gender nonconformity during their childhood Theories to explain sexual orientation Freud - Proposed that homosexual may result in psychosexual development if an infant is disrupted by abnormal relationships in the family - Not supported - Psychoanalysis traumatized gay patients who wanted to become straight. Bad approach Socialization theory - Socialization effects and sexual interactions attempt to explain sexual orientation o i.e., single-sex boarding school more likely to experience more homosexual experience - This theory is not really supported - Although it seems likely that parental influence does mold some aspects of children’s gender characteristics, there is no positive evidence for an influence on sexual orientation Biological theories - Prenatal hormonal explanation o Fetuses whose brains are exposed to high levels of androgen during this period (mostly males, but a few females) will be sexually attracted to women (gynephilic) o Fetuses whose brains are exposed to low levels of androgen during this period (mostly females, but a few males) will be sexually attracted to men (androphilic) o Also supported by animal research, as rats sex preference can be manipulated by androgen levels o Another point that supports this is that women with congenital adrenal hyperplasia are more likely to experience same-sex attraction and engage in same-sex relationships than are control groups of women without CAH - Neuroscience research o Medial pre-optic area: a region of the hypothalamus involved in the regulation of sexual behaviors typically shown by males o INAH3: a neuronal cell group in the hypothalamus that differs in size between men and women and between gay and straight men o LeVay  Reported that the volume of INAH3 was significally smaller in the gay men than in the straight men o Because INAH3 is found within the media pre-optic region, a smaller amount in gay men suggest that they do not show as strong as a sexual desire towards other females - Swedish study (PET scan) o Had subjects sniff androstadienone (AND), a substance that acts as pheromones o Found that the front part of the hypothalamus, which includes the medial pre-optic area, was active in heterosexual women and gay men while they were sniffing AND, but these areas were inactive in heterosexual men o Implication  Function connections between the olfactory system and the hypothalamus differ between homosexual and heterosexual individuals of the same sex - Other biological differences o Relative size of the left and right cerebral hemispheres - Family and twin studies indicate that genes do indeed have a significant influence on sexual orientation - Identical twins are much more likely to share the same sexual orientation than are non-identical twins The struggles of the gay community - World’s first gay organization, Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, founded in Berlin o Under Hirschfield - Stonewall riot in NY’s Greenwich village, which catered to gay men and transsexuals - At the time of Stonewall rebellion, the status of gay people were still dismal o Listed in APA as a mental disorder - 1973: homosexuality removed as mental disorder in APA - Gays came out of the closet o The percentage of Americans who said that they personally knew someone who was openly gay rose from 30% in 1983 to 73% in 2000 - Pro-gay attitudes have dramatically i
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