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1. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 1Gender Dysphoriaã Occasionally, boys and girls and men and women feel that there is a…
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  • 1. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 1Gender Dysphoria• Occasionally, boys and girls and men and women feel that there is a mismatch between their anatomy and gender identity so much so they identify more with the opposite sex.• The feeling of mismatch of anatomy and identity, wanting to be the opposite sex and psychological discomfort is referred to as gender dysphoria.• It is still considered to be a disorder and is categorised in the DSM as “gender identity disorder.”
  • 2. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 2 Zach Avery • Zach Avery has insisted on wearing girls’ clothes since the age of three. He is now five and was assessed as having Gender Identity Disorder (GID) after worried parents Theresa 32, and Darren, 41, sought medical help. • Mrs Avery explained her son was a ‘normal’ little boy who liked Thomas the Tank Engine but became obsessed with Dora the Explorer, a television programme aimed at young girls. • She said: ‘He just turned round to me one day when he was three and said, “Mummy I’m a girl”. I assumed he was just going through a phase and left it at that. ‘But then it got serious and he would be upset if anyone referred to him as a boy. He used to cry and try to cut his willy off out of frustration.’ • Initially, Zach’s parents believed he was autistic but, after several months, a child psychologist diagnosed him with GID when he was four. • Zach now attends his local primary school where the toilets have been turned gender neutral to support him.
  • 3. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 3 Gender dysphoria can be explained from a biological and psychological perspective Psychological Biological• Psychoanalytic: state that • Visual differences in the brain problems can result from structures of men and women difficulties with establishing gender thought to cause transsexualism. identity.• Imprinting and conditioning (evolutionary and behaviourism): if imprinting fails problems relating to the opposite sex when mature can occur.• Cognitive: inability to conserve (Piaget) may prevent children from reaching gender identity maturation.
  • 4. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 4 Freud “Psychoanalyti c”• Freudian concepts state that gender dysphoria can result from difficulties establishing gender identity in toddlerhood.• Gender identity is established through resolution of the Oedipal and Electra complexes in the Phallic stage of development from identification with the same-sex parent.• Gender dysphoria may result from identification Lothstein (1979), for example, claimed that with an inappropriate role some female-to-male transsexuals had model. mothers who lacked a cohesive self with which it was difficult for girls to identify.
  • 5. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 5 A02 Psychoanalytic Explanations• There is little evidence to suggest that some boys identify with their mothers and girls identify with their fathers and so go on to experience gender dysphonia.• As psychoanalytic concepts rely on the unconscious mind and childhood trauma which affects adult personality. A02
  • 6. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 6 Imprinting and conditioning• Imprinting occurs first – when an animal forms an attachment bond with it’s parent.• Once imprinted, the individual learns and observes, from it’s own species (conditioning).• If imprinting fails, problems relating to the opposite sex when mature can occur.• This could lead to conditioning that is incompatible to the individual’s sex and difficulties relating to the opposite sex such as gender dysphoria may follow.
  • 7. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 7 A02 Imprinting and conditioning• Although, inappropriate role modelling and gender conditioning may be a cause of dysphoria, research evidence is inconclusive.• There is evidence that animals and humans imprint on the first caregiver they observe (usually the mother), but this evidence normally concerns ensuring a bond forms with the caregiver and species for survival purposes.• To assume that inaccurate imprinting would cause gender dysphoria would be rigid and over simplified. A03: Reductionism? Why?
  • 8. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 8 Cognitive• Piaget claims that gender identity is a result of maturation.• During adolescence (7-14) children consolidate their understanding of gender (Kohlberg). During this stage of cognitive development thinking and reasoning skills become more abstract and sophisticated.• This enables them to deal with hypothetical situations with a number of outcomes, including their own gender concept.• At this point they may become aware of gender dysphoria and the possibilities open to them
  • 9. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 9 A02 Cognitive• Cognitive psychologists claim that gender identity is established by three years of age and that it is during adolescent years that they consolidate their gender understanding.• However, transsexuals tend to report that they aware of how they felt during their gender long before adolescence so the timing proposed by cognitive psychologists and the role of maturation in adolescence is questionable. Kohlberg vs. Martin & Halverson
  • 10. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 10 Ruth’s Storyhttp://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Gender-dysphoria/Pages/Introduction.aspx
  • 11. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 11 The Different AssumptionsPsychoanalyti Imprinting c Cognitive and Freud Conditioning Piaget Exam Practice (A01) •“Discuss explanations of gender dysphoria.” (5+10 marks)
  • 12. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 12 Quick Questions1. According to the Freudian assumption, gender dysphoria children have not passed through which stage?2. Therefore, according to Freud children are unable to?3. What is imprinting?4. How can failed imprinting lead to gender dysphoria?5. According to Piaget, what should children be able to do by the age of seven?6. How can cognitive psychology explain gender dysphoria?
  • 13. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 13 Discuss explanations of gender dysphoria.” (5+10 marks)• Let’s apply A02/A03
  • 14. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 14 Gender dysphoria as a biological condition• Alternative explanations of the origins of gender dysphoria are mainly biological and have been informed by individuals with hermaphroditism.• While these conditions may provide useful insights, the DSM-IV-TR criteria for gender dysphoria specifically exclude them.• Nevertheless, a biological basis to gender dysphoria seems plausible and one such explanations is brain sex theory.
  • 15. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 15Key Term:Sexually Dimorphic Brain sex theory • Brain sex theory is based on the difference in size of certain brain structures in men and women. • There has been particular interest in those that are sexually dimorphic i.e. taking a different form in males and females. In 1995, Zhou, Hofman and Gooren studied an area of the brain, which is also located in the hypothalamus, and is known as the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis central division.
  • 16. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 16 Stria terminalis central division• The stria terminalis is believed to be fully developed by five years and influences sexual behaviour.• In post-mortems of six male-to-female transsexuals who had received feminising hormones, it was found to be the same size as a heterosexual woman!!HOWEVER:Additional post-mortem comparisons, thistime with non-transsexual clients withabnormal hormone levels, concludedthat the size of BSTc in male-femaletranssexuals could not be whollyaccounted for by their sex hormoneexposure in adulthood.
  • 17. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 17 Stria terminalis central division• In further studies, the number of neurons in BSTc was assessed and this was found to be more sexually dimorphic in volume.• Using the same tissue from the six male-female transsexuals, Kruijver et al (2000) found the number of neurons in BSTc showed a similar pattern in heterosexual women.• However, evidence is inconclusive.• This has led Kruijver et al (2000) to conclude that the hormone exposure in adulthood did not show a definite relationship with the neuron number in the BSTc.
  • 18. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 18 Did Hormones change the shape? Criticism Support• Chung et al (2002) challenged • Hulshoff Pol et al (2006) the time at which BSTc appears found that transgender claiming that the differences in hormone therapy does volume and neuron did not influence the size of the BSTc. develop until adulthood. • This suggests that hormones• This is challenges children who can have an effect on BSTc – are aware of their gender even after it is supposedly fully dysphoria at an early age developed (five years old). (Zack Avery) • This means the evidence in• Chung argued that pre-natal post-mortem changed due to hormonal might remain hormonal therapy and not dormant until adulthood and prenatal development. then trigger the change.
  • 19. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 19 How are they opposing? Chung et al (2002) Hulshoff Pol et al (2006)Change is due to pre-natal Change is due to hormonal hormones lying dormant therapy to become transgendered
  • 20. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 20 Transsexualism is different between the sexesThe hormonal influences can notexplain the difference intranssexualism in men and women.Gooren (2006) suggests two types oftranssexuals:4.Early: The individual asserts early inlife they are the opposite gender andreassignment follows. This is usually inmale to female transsexuals.5.Late: the onset of dysphoria is moregradual, the direction of the change ismore often from female to male and thesuccess late is lower.
  • 21. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 21 IDA (Issues, Debates and Application)The complex interaction of nature and nurture•The human brain undergoes considerable developmentpre-natally and continues to develop after birth.•By the time it is fully developed, the child has also beensubjected to numerous environmental influences, includinggender socialisation.•It then becomes impossible to detangle the effects ofnature and nurture on both the brain and genderdevelopment.•It appears that whilst researchers are prepared to accept abiological dysphoria, can we be certain it can be explainedin this way alone?
  • 22. To distinguish Psychological and Biological Explanations of Gender Dysphoria 22 IDA (Issues, Debates and Application)• It is generally difficult to tease out any behavioural effects influence by nature and nurture by this becomes even more so in the sensitive area of gender dysphoria where strictly a biological reductionist explanation could be inadequate.• If the researchers resort to reductionist measures, the fMRI scan is the most informative as it shows the brain in action.• However, the brain develops pre-natally and continues to develop post-natally when exposed to the environment.• Therefore it is impossible to gauge any differences in the prenatal brain.
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