Evaluate the Influence of Biological Factors on Gender Development Including Comparison with Explanations from the Psychodynamic and Learning Approaches.

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The biological explanation of gender development enforces the idea that the role of genes and hormones are the main contributors towards the development of a child's gender. Both of the parents pass down 50% of their genetic makeup to their off-spring, where the mother provides the X chromosome and the father providing X or Y chromosome. Therefore, it is the father who determines the sex of the off-spring. If the father passes on the X chromosome then the child will be female and if he passes on the Y chromosome the child will be male. The presence of the Y chromosome determines the development of testes. Testosterone is released and male characteristics develop, and this affects brain hemisphere and hypothalamus action. So, male tend to use mostly the right part of their brain. The biological approach does seem to be supported by the case study of David Reimer. Money (1975) case study of David was that he was brought up as a girl after an accident that his penis was castrated. They viewed gender as being neutral until around the age of three, and believed that any child could have their gender changed. They encouraged the Reimer’s to bring David up as a girl; Brenda. Despite being socialised as a girl, David always felt ´different' and was relieved to know and live his life as a male. In other words, his genes had influenced his gender identity.

However, Freud uses the psycho sexual stages of development oral, anal, phallic, latency and genital to explain the development of personality. The phallic stage is the most important when it comes to gender. In the phallic stage, boys develop the Oedipus complex and girls develop the Electra complex. This is where they reject their desires for the parent of the opposite sex and this rejection forces them to identify with the same sex parent. The identification is more powerful for boys because they have castration fear if they don’t reject attraction for mother. They realize that their father stands in the way of...
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