The Effects of Hormones and Behavior on Gender Identity

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The effects of hormones and behavior on gender identity

PSY 340
February 14, 2010

The effects of hormones and behavior on gender identity

The formation of gender identity is not completely understood as it is much more complex than just getting a sperm and egg cell to join; an XX or an XY genotype is only the first part in gender identity. There are many biological, psychological and sociological factors involved. The biological includes chromosomes, gonads, prenatal hormones, internal accessory organs, external genital appearance. The psychological includes assigned gender role and gender identity. The sociological could come from family, mass media and society (Kenyon, PhD, 2006). Sammons (2007) states that biological psychology observes that biological processes form gender identity. John Money a well-known behavioral psychologist first proposed the idea of “connection between biological and environmental factors in determining sexuality, arguing that social expectations interacted with an individual’s genes to affect hormone expression and thus sexuality” (John Money, 2011).

The first biological factor affecting gender identity is the chromosomes that are in every cell of the body. Both parents contribute one half of the genotype; the mother or female supplies the X and the father or male the X or Y, the determining gene that gives gender its first definition (Board on Health Sciences Policy & Committee on Understanding the Biology of Sex and Gender Differences, 2001). The sex of the embryo is formed at the moment of conception however there are seven weeks where the embryo has no sex; both the XX and XY embryo develop in the same way. It is during the sixth week that the testes and ovaries are formed; testosterone, or the lack of, starts the embryo on a separated path, one being male and the other female. The changes made at this time have organizing effect that will be activated later during puberty Before puberty occurs the fetus...
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