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Chapter 13

PSY100H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 13: Social Learning Theory, Sexual Orientation, Gender Role

Course Code
Mark Schmuckler

of 5
PSYB20 Chapter 13: Gender roles and gender differences
5 Principal psychological explanations of gender-linked patterns (Freudian theory):
1. Identification identifying with same-sex parent acquired either feminine/masculine traits
and behaviour
2. Cognitive social learning theory: children acquire gender identification both through parent’s
direct guidance and encouragement and by imitating parents and other people
3. Kholberg’s cognitive developmental theory
4. Gender-schema theory: information-processing approach
5. Evolutionary theory: stressed principles of natural selection and adaption
Gender typing: the process by which children acquire the values, motives and behaviours considered
appropriate for their gender in their particular culture
Gender biased beliefs: what behaviours are appropriate for males and females
Gender stereotypes: beliefs that members of an entire culture hold about the attitudes and behaviours
that are acceptable and appropriate for each sex
Gender roles: composites of the behaviours actually exhibited by a typical male or females in a given
culture; the reflection of a gender stereotype in everyday life
Gender identity: perception of oneself as male or female
Gender-role preferences: desires to possess certain gender-typical characteristics
Sexual preferences: same-sex or opposite-sex romance partners
How gender-role standards and stereotypes vary over time and across cultures
Male role seen controlling and manipulating the environment, expected to be independent, assertive,
dominant and competitive in social and sexual relations (mechanics and doctors)
Female role seen emotionally supporting in family and social relationships, passive, loving, sensitive,
display of anxiety under pressure, suppression of aggression and sexuality (librarians and nurses)
- African-American families more likely to socialize children w/o strict boy-girl gender-role
- Age affects gender-role expectations (^ age more flexible in attitudes)
- Educations affects gender-role expectations (university women more independent + desire
for achievement) teach their children this way
- Fathers are more concerned with their children maintaining behaviours appropriate for their sex
- Aggression = men, interpersonal sensitivity = women
Gender differences in development
4 real gender differences:
1. Physical, motor and sensory development
2. Cognitive development
3. Social and emotional development
4. Atypical development
Found only sometimes:
1. Activity level
2. Dependence
3. Fear, timidity, anxiety
4. Exploratory activity
5. Vulnerability to stress
6. Orientation to social stimuli
Myths of gender differences
1. Sociability
2. Suggestibility and conformity
3. Learning style
4. Achievement
5. Self-esteem
6. Verbal aggressiveness and hostility (just use diff approaches)
Developmental patterns of Gender Typing
- Greater pressure for boy to conform to narrow gender-appropriate standards
- Boys more like to be focus on trying to understand and organize a specific domain + develop
extremely intense interests
- Boys preference for gender-stereotyped toys remained consistent across wide age range (5 -13)
- Boys and girls do develop distinctive patterns of interest that are consistent w/ gender
stereotypes (parents encourage these in the assignment of household tasks)
Stability of gender typing
- Related to cultural acceptance (when a characteristic is incongruent to cultural standards not
to remain stable from childhood to maturity)
- Gender roles may shift as adults meet the demands of new situations and circumstances (ex,
- Expressive characteristics: nurturance, concerned with feelings, child oriented (females)
- Instrumental characteristics: task and occupational oriented (males)
- Women tend to become more autonomous as they get older but return to more feminine
gender-role orientation in old age
Gender differences in abilities
Boys more skilled at manipulating objects, constructing 3-D forms, visual-spatial relations (geometry)
- More likely to suffer from social and communicative difficulties + autism is 4X’s more common
Girls speak and write earlier + better at grammar and spelling , better computational skills
The role of biological factors in the development of gender roles
Hormones and social behaviour girls exposed to high levels of androgens prenatally exhibited
masculine behaviours and interests even if they were raised as girls COULD LEAD to mistaken sexual
Hormones and cognitive skills prenatal androgen levels in females better visual-spatial skills
Brain Lateralization and gender differences men’s brains are more specialized than women’s! (if
damaged great deficit)
Biological programming and cultural expectations boys play with toys that involve spatial abilities
(building sets, blocks, models, video games enhances spatial skills)
The role of cognitive factors in the development of gender roles
2 cognitive approaches to gender typing
1. Kohlberg’s cognitive developmental theory
- Children use physical and behavioural clues to differentiate gender roles and to gender type
themselves very early in life categorize people as male or females (ex, hairstyles, playing with
- Consistency btw children’s actual gender and their behaviour and values is critical in sustaining
- 3 phases in understanding gender: 1) btw age 2 -3, acquire basic gender identity, 2) btw age 4
5, acquire concept of gender stability: notion that gender does not change, 3) age 6 7, acquire
the notion of gender constancy: awareness that superficial alternations in appearance or activity
do not alter gender (genital knowledge)
- Not entirely accurate in predicting that children would behave in more gender-typed ways after
they fully understood gender constancy
2. Gender-schema theory: Information-processing approach
- Children develop schemas that help them organize and structure their experience related to
gender differences and gender roles (to evaluate + explain behaviour)
- Reliance on gender schemas in interpreting their social world changes with age! preschool
children rely on more b/c older children have more knowledge on gender roles