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Sex Identity

The biological status of being a male and female according to chromosomes and hormones.

Gender Identity

The psychological status of being male or female depending on the feelings of an individual.

Sex (Gender) Typing

Treating people in accordance to the expectations of them becuase of thier sex.


Chemical substances that carry messages through the body in blood
Male: Testosterone
Female: Oestrogen and Progesterone


Showing equal characteristics of both sexes. For example: behaviour and attitudes.

Biological - Effect of hormones on gender

Gender depends on the levels of hormones produced - gender can change at puberty. This is because when we are born, we may not have enough hormones to determine our actual sex and these may kick in at puberty. For example, you may appear to be female when born, but at puberty testosterone levels could go up.

Imperato - McGinely (Effect of hormones on gender)

> Four children who were born with female genitals and raised as girls.
> However at 12, they started to develop male features and as adults, they appeared to be males.
> It was found that at birth these children had very little testosterone, but at puberty enough was produced for their male features to develop.
> Genetically they were males.

Social Learning theory

The theory that we learn social behavior by observing and imitating the same sex role models and by being rewarded or punished.

Perry and Bussey (1979) (Social Learning theory)

Aim - To show that children imitate behaviour of same sex role models.
Method - Children were shown films of role models carrying out activities.
In the first condition, the male and female models were seperated.
In the second condition, the males and females were mixed.
Results - In the first conditon, the children imitated their same sex role models.
In the second condition, there was no difference.
Conclusion - The children copied their same sex role models.


How our behavior springs from unconscious desires and conflicts.

Freud's theory (Psychoanalytical)

Oedipus complex - the freudian concept that during the phallic stage, boys percieve their fathers as a rival for possesion of their mother's love. Also, they do not want their fathers to find out, as they are worried they will be castrated. (Evidence from Little Hans)
Electra Complex - This is where girls fancy their fathers and also have penis envy. They realise that their mother does not have a penis so they identify with them. This is how they learn to adopt gender roles.

Freud's Evaluation

(+) Evidence from Little Hans supports the theory
(+) In today's society, equipment such as brain scans can be used to support the theory
(-) At the time, it was difficult to prove the idea of ID and Libido - no scientific evidence.
(-) Does not explain gender development in single parent families - e.g. no father figure for a boy to identify with.
(-) Children may be seeing an abusive relationship.
(-) Freud stated that you dont know your gender at 5 years old, however, evidence shows that children who are younger than 4, know what their gender is.

Gender Schema

A set of behaviors organized around how either a male or female should think and behave.

Martin - Gender Schema Study

Aim - To show that children's understanding of gender becomes less stereotyped and therefore more flexible as they get older.
Method - Children heard stories about the toys that male and female characters enjoed playing with.
Some characters were described as liking gender-stereotyed activities , while other characters were described as liking non-gender stereotyped activites.
The children were then asked to predict what other toys each character would or would not like to play.
Results - The younger children used only the sex of the character to decide what other toys he or she would or would not like to play. The older children considered both the sex of the character and the other toys that the character enjoyed playing with.

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