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Chapter 6

PSY321H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 6: Urinary Tract Infection, Role Theory, Social Inequality

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Simone Walker

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Chapter 6
Sex and gender
Sex generally refers to the physical characteristics and differences between men and women,
the term sex roles is used to describe the behaviors that men and women may engage in that are directly
related to their biological differences and the process of reproduction.
o An example of a sex role for females is breastfeeding - a behavior that only women can engage in
The term sexual identity is used to describe the degree of awareness and recognition of sex and sex roles an
individual may have.
o Male sexual identity typically includes his awareness that he has the potential to impregnate women
and knows the necessary behaviors.
o Female sexual identity includes the woman’s awareness of her reproductive potential and her
knowledge about behaviors that lead to pregnancy
gender refers to the behaviors that a culture deems appropriate for men and women
Gender role refers to the degree to which a person adopts the gender-specific behaviors ascribed by his or her
o For example, traditional gender roles suggest that males are aggressive and unemotional (with the
exception of anger)
o Traditional gender roles for females suggest that women are nurturant, caring, and emotional and
that they should stay at home and take care of the children.
Gender identity refers to the degree to which a person has awareness or recognition that he or she adopts a
particular gender role.
And gender stereotypes refer to the psychological or behavioral characteristics typically associated with men
and women.
gender differences across cultures
one of Hofstede’s dimensions is masculinity - femininity
cultures high on masculinity tended to have moralistic attitudes about sex, had double standards about sex
(i.e., women should be virgins at marriage but not men), and had norms encouraging passive roles of women.
Cultures low on masculinity tend to have matterof- fact attitudes about sex, a single standards concerning sex
for men and women, and norms that encouraged an active role for women in society.
Masculine and feminine cultures also differed in their attitudes about religion.
Masculine cultures tend to be more traditional, focusing on religion, and focused on god or gods.

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Feminine cultures tend to be less traditional, emphasize the importance of religion in life less, and focus on
fellow humans
cognitive differences
It is common folklore that males are better at mathematical and spatial reasoning tasks, whereas females are
better at verbal comprehension tasks
there is some degree of support for these notions, although the difference between males and females seems to
have narrowed in recent years.
Maccoby et al concluded that males do better on spatial reasoning tasks
Berry argued that that such differences do not appear to exist among males and females of the Inuit culture in
Canada this difference didn’t exist bc spatial abilities are adaptive for both Inuit males and females
Berry et al suggested that male superiority on spatial abilities ended to be found in cultures that were tight
(that is, relatively homogeneous), sedentary, and agriculturally based
female superiority was found in cultures that were loose, nomadic, and based on hunting and gathering.-> in
these latter cultures, the roles ascribed to males and females are relatively flexible, with more members
performing a variety of tasks related to the survival of the group
Conformity and Obedience
One common stereotype is that females are more conforming and obedient than males.
the degree to which this difference occurs varies from culture to culture.
Cultures that were tighter appeared to foster a greater gender difference on conformity, with females more
conformist than males.
cultures that were looser fostered less gender difference on conformity, and in some of these cultures, males
were found to be more conforming than females.
a common gender stereotype is that males are more aggressive than females.
there is support for this stereotype in all cultures for which documentation exists
Increased testosterone levels have been associated with dominance hierarchies in some nonhuman
primates, but the human analog is less clear
On the basis of the evidence available, it appears that hormones may contribute to some degree to
but culture and the environment can certainly act to encourage or discourage its emergence
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