• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss psychological research into the factors that influence gender roles.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss psychological research into the factors that influence gender roles. There are many stereotypical ideas of how males and females should act; however it is important to consider why people conform to these and why such sex typed behaviour is present. Psychologists such as Kohlberg claim that a child's sex role concepts are created by their own active structuring of it's own experiences, this is called the cognitive developmental theory. Kohlberg states that children relate to same sex models as they have already developed a consistent gender identity and find it rewarding to behave in the same way as someone of the same sex. Kolhberg argues that children go through three stages before they achieve gender identity: the first of these is during the child's second and third year, when both sexes are aware of their sex but believe it is possible to change, later the child realises that sex is stable over a period of time however does not realise that sex still remains the same in different situations, for example, changing clothes. ...read more.


An adaptation of Freud's theory has been offered by Chodrow who claims girls develop a sense of gender indentity based on their close relationship with their mother, by doing this they associate femininity with feelings of closeness. In contrast, boys have to move away from their relationship with their mother in order to develop gender indentity. As we can see from Freud's psychoanalytical theory the is no empirical research to support it and no evidence supporting the Oedipus and Electra complex's. Freud's argument that boy's identification with his father would be greater if his father was a threatening one has been heavily criticised by Mussun and Rutherford who found boys are much more likely to identify with a loving supporting father than an overbearing one. Freud focused on the influence of the same-sex parent in influencing gender development in children; by doing this he ignored the impact of the opposite-sex parent, single-parent families and other members of the family along side biological and social factors. ...read more.


For Bandura a child's experiences construct their gender development, in other words, children learn to behave in such a way that it is rewarded and avoid behaviour that carry punishment (such as a comment like 'you look like a girl in that shirt' to a boy) This theory suggest children learn behaviour from observations of various models of the same sex, and can also be applied to ideas in the media. The effects of media stereotypes were observed by Williams who found the impact of TV was stronger in developing countries where children have relatively less information to influence their lives. In conclusion we can see that there is no real clear cut explanation to why gender roles appear, to completely understand the cause of gender roles a multi-perspective must be used combing the issues raised by psychologist such as Kohlberg and Freud yet also account for the effects social factors such as media and society has on a child's development. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Sociology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Sociology essays

  1. Changes in Family Roles

    The books state indentify the "classic" extended family as being made up of several nuclear families "joined together". It also states that it was mainly used for many nuclear families which lived together. The "An Introduction to Sociology" by Ken Brown book, also recognised the "modified" extended family.

  2. Theories of Sex and Gender

    suggests that the relationship between children and media role models is more complex, with children actively seeking out media figures who reflect a similar sense of identity to themselves and then modelling themselves on them rather than simply being influenced by whatever and whoever they see.

  1. To try and find out why girls are outperforming boys in GCSEexaminations?

    The book also takes about GIST; this is something I have mentioned earlier on. GIST is the government programme that lasted for four years and it was to try and find out why girls were not into science and technology!

  2. Gender Assessment in Georgia.

    and editors (only a few of them are women) and teach them basic business skills, quality writing, and most importantly ethics in journalism is seen as the key affair at this stage of representation, because "without a strong media, the NGO sector will not develop and gender stereotypes will be reinforced"18.

  1. Scholarly detachment in scientific research.

    because everyone has different knowledge on this depending on how they were brought up and there own biases, culture, etc... Bendix in his paper uses Kuhn as an example, Kuhn illustrates how men who did a study on paradigms had there own scientific community and later they would all split up to study certain aspects of this paradigms.

  2. "Are gender roles changing or being reinforced"?

    The work of women was usually confined to the home where they would combine their various responsibilities (looking after the children, keeping her home going) as well as farming helping the husband. She would also help her husband in his business or do paid work, such as spinning or cloth making.

  1. Sex and Gender.

    Walby shows that within the private structure and the public structures, patriarchy does use different strategies to maintain gender inequality and these strategies both achieve the subordination of women. The household strategy is considered to be exclusionary and the public structures strategy as segregationist.

  2. The differences and relationships between gender roles

    In many cases with intersexual children who have surgical operations to be male, it is not how his sex organ can function, but rather used only to define the body as male, since "most intersexual males are infertile, so what counts especially is how the penis functions in social interaction-

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work