Chemical Influences and Gender Identity

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Chemical Influences and Gender Identity

Brian Hartung

UoP

Psy 344

May 17, 2012

Giselle Gourrier

Chemical influences and gender identity

In this paper will be discussing how biological factors such as nature, i.e. genetics and other environmental influences factor in to our sexual orientation and gender identity. Next I will focus the discussion based upon my evaluation of the nature versus nurture agreement, and decide which one has a larger influence over gender identity be it nature or nurture. Lastly, the paper will talk about current arguments in biopsychology might be able to help with bringing about a resolution to this debate. Nature vs. Nurture

The question being asked here is, what roles do biology and other influences namely the environment contribute to the development of gender and sexual preference.

The 1st thing we need to know before we get into the meat of the argument is to provide the reader with a general idea as to which terms I will be using in my argument. What is gender identity? Well, for all intents and purposes, in its broadest sense with to respects to this paper, gender identity is often referred to as the individuals own sense of identifying themselves as male or female. Another term that needs to be defined is, what is sexual preference or orientation? Sexual orientation, or preference is in individuals pattern or behavior and their attraction of these emotionally romantically or sexually or any combination of these to the opposite sex the same sex or both sexes.

The term environment needs to be discussed a little bit, in this paper for the terms of this paper environment means the world outside of us. For example the pollutants in the air, the chemicals in our food that we eat and drink, and other chemicals we absorb through the atmosphere on a daily basis. There is another part to the word environment, and that is the environment in which we are raised, in other words, our contacts with friends and family and other beings in the world. What roles do they play with regards to which gender we identify ourselves with, and are “attraction” to members of the opposite or same sex depending upon your preference? There are numerous examples of in mammals other than humans. Modern research indicates that there are various forms of male-male and female-female sexual behaviors. These mammals include, lions, sheep, and hyena to name a few examples, and also our closest genetic cousin monkeys. This tells me, that there must be some sort biological influence that determines predisposition of sexual preference and gender identity. There are many members in the field of psychology that argue that gender identity and sexual preference are a direct result of environmental stimulation. In essence our preferences develop as a result of our relationships with our parents grandparents friends relatives and other relationships that we developed in the world around us. One such psychologist was Dr. John Money. In his works he argued that we are born gender neutral so to speak and that our preferences develop as a result of the nurturing we received as children. I can see his argument as a strong one, given the fact that when the child is born, and the sex of the child is determined at birth, the parents, the doctors and nurses and staff at the hospital, all treated child differently depending upon the sex of the child. Female children are usually adorned with pink blankets and wrapped in the hospital, while the male children are usually wrapped in blue blankets. Right off the bat, the child is automatically cast into a cookie-cutter male or female gender role based upon the external corporal characteristics of the child at birth.[i] Our external corporal characteristics determine the way or manner in which we are treated as an individual in society. Which leads us to the next section of the paper, in which I weigh the...
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