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1. The Biosocial Approach To Gender 2. Social learning suggests that a child is rewarded for gender specific behaviours and therefore comes to regard itself as belonging…
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  • 1. The Biosocial Approach To Gender
  • 2. Social learning suggests that a child is rewarded for gender specific behaviours and therefore comes to regard itself as belonging to that gender.
  • 3. Cognitive development starts with the premise that a child has a boyish, or girlish, personality and therefore likes the appropriate things
  • 4. Biosocial theorists attempted to measure the behaviour of very young children, which they could assume were biologically based, and predict how they would translate into social behaviours
  • 5. Among the list of researched gender differences are that it is believed that female babies are hardier, more regular in their sleeping and eating patterns,(Growing Up in Scotland Report, 2007) more socially Responsive (Lundqvist, 2001), mature faster and are more sensitive to pain (Bell, 1960). This might mean that girls might be predisposed to be biddable, cooperative and nurturing.
  • 6. For boys the differences are that they tend to respond better to novelty (Hsu et al ,1981 Martin et al, 1997), be more active (Harlow, 1962), along with being more irritable and harder to pacify. This might predispose boys to be more assertive, restless, more ready for rough and tumble play
  • 7. Biosocial psychologists suggest that the babies' innate behaviours lead parents to respond to them in certain ways .
  • 8. But this would ignore the effect of parental expectations. For instance,do parents give children stereotyped toys because that's what they like or because that's what they expect girls/ boys to play with?
  • 9. The biosocial approach sees a dynamic interactivity between biological and social issues.
  • 10. BUT Fairweather(1976) carried out an exhaustive review of the literature on gender differences and concluded that at most, in childhood, there was a continuum in which girls might be able to use their hands more precisely and boys were more able in the use of the larger muscles
  • 11. AND Nicholson (1984) suggests that, when it comes to what babies actually do, there is little difference between the sexes. Not all babies behave in the same way; on the contrary, signs of a distinct individual personality can be seen in the way a child behaves from the very beginning. An infant's sex is not a particularly strong predictor of what sort of behaviour it is likely to show. There is far more variety of behaviour amongst babies of the same sex than there is between a 'typical' boy and a 'typical' girl
  • 12. Isn't this more about parental expectations than actual differences? Rubin et al, 1974, interviewed 30 parents and asked them to use adjective pairs to describe their babies. Although there were no measurable differences in size between the babies, parents consistently described boy babies as better coordinated, stronger and more alert than daughters.
  • 13. There have even been gender differences in monkeys' choices of toys! In 2008, Wallen et al found that male rhesus monkeys preferred to play with wheeled toys than plush toys. This echoed an earlier study done on vervet monkeys by Alexander (2006) Alexander says, “There is likely to be a biological tendency that is amplified by society.”
  • 14. Surely the monkeys aren't vulnerable to societal expectation?
  • 15. And so, the jury is still out!
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