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PSYC 3480 (233)
Chapter 3

The Psychology of Women Chapters (3,4,5)

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PSYC 3480
Noreen Stuckless

ChapterInfancy and Childhood Children and adults conceptions of gender are often differentGender typing includes how children acquire their knowledge about gender and how they develop their genderrelated personality characteristics preference skills behaviours and selfconcepts Background on Gender DevelopmentPrenatal period where sex organs and other biological components developInfancy the period between birth and 18 months Prenatal Sex DevelopmentEgg with 23 chromosomes combine with a sperm which also has 23 chromosomes and from a single cell that contains a total of 46 chromosomes the last pair is known as the sex chromosome this accounts for whether the child be a boy or girl The X chromosome comes from mother and the X or Y comes from father XX comes female XY comes males Typical Prenatal DevelopmentAfter 6 weeks of conception female and male embryos are identical in characteristicsThe female system has two sets of primitive internal reproductive systems The internal female system called Mullerian ducts will eventually develop in femalesinto a uterus or egg ducts and part of the vagina The internal male system called the Wolffian ducts will eventually develop into the male internal male reproduction system which includes strictures such as the prostate gland and vesicles for semen The sex glands gonads also look identical during the first weeks after conceptionrdAfter about the 3 moth after conception the fetus hormones encourage further sex differential including the development of the external genitals The testes secrete androgen one of the male sex hormones The females prenatal development the ovaries begin to make estrogen one of the female sex hormone however estrogen does not play an important role in development of female organsFour additional processes then lead to the differentiation of females and males 1 the development of internal reproduction 2 the development of gonads 3 the production of hormones and 4 he development of the external genitals Atypical Prenatal Development Intersexed individuals has genitals that are not clearly female or clearly male they also do not have the chromosomes or internal reproductive system gonads hormones and external genitals thats are either consistently female or consistently maleRepresent 2 of the population One atypical pattern is called congenital adrenal hyperplasia in one form of this condition genetic females XX receive as much androgen as males do during prenatal development The excess androgen causes their genitals to look more masculine at birth androgen insensitivity syndromeA second patter is calleda condition where genetic males XY produce normal amounts of androgen but a genetic condition makes their body not respond to normal amounts of androgen as a result the genital tubercle does not grow into a penis the external genitals look female This Is usually discovered at the time of menstruation Parental Preferences about Sex of ChildrenSeveral decades families preferred boys over girls however parents are more likely to express pride following a boy and happiness when a girlIn India and Korea is it a strong desire and hope for a boy if the sex of the baby is female many abort Selective abortion is popular in ChinaBeing born a girl may have health consequences such as the examples in Korea where premature are often not taken care of as well ie no incubator Peoples Stereotypes about infant Girls and BoysParents of girls rated them as relatively weak whereas parents of boys rated their sons as being strong parents also thought that girls were more fine featured and delicate in comparison to their sons There is also a difference in gender appropriate room decorationStrangers treat infants differently when they are perceived to be male or femaleOn infant ratings the difference was largest when people judges infants activities and physical characteristics difference was lower when judging developmental achievements and personality characteristics Social constructionism argues that we tend to construct or invent our own versions of reality based on our prior experiences and beliefsTheories of Gender DevelopmentFreud elaborate psychoanalytic theory Discussion of gender will focus oncontemporary perspectives they emphasize two different processes known as the social learning theoryand thecognitive development theoryIn the social learning approach children learn genderrelated behaviours from other people In cognitive development approach children actively synthesize and create own thoughts about gender The Social Learning Approach Argues that the traditional principles of learning explain and important part of gender developmentSocial learning approach proposes two major mechanisms for explaining how girls learn to act feminine and how boys learn to act masculine1 Children are awarded for genderappropriate behaviour and they are punished for genderinappropriate behaviour 2 Children watch and imitate the behaviour of people from their own gender category ie Jimmy makes a rumbling sound while playing with his trucks rewarding him for masculine behaviour If Jimmy wore his sisters tutu he may not be rewarded in such a way but instead punished Parents respond more positively when children play gender consistent play patternsChildren also learn by watching others and imitating them a process called modeling or observational learning children are most likely to imitate those of the same gender and those who have been rewarded for their behaviour
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