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What is gender identity disorder?

Gender Identity Disorder is when an individual feels strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one's own assigned sex.


What are the consequences of GID?

GID creates stress and discomfort so is recognised as a psychological disorder - people may dress, live and use mannerisms of the opposite sex (gender dysphoria) - people with GID may identify as transgender or have gender realignment surgery


What is the brain sex theory?

This theory suggests GID occurs bc individuals have specific brain structures that are incompatible with their biological sex - focus in on areas of the brain that take different forms in men and women (dimorphic)


What was Ning Zhou (1995) 's work into the brain sex theory?

She studied the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (assumed to be fully developed by age 5) which is around 40% larger in men than women of 6 male-female transgender individuals in post-mortem studies - the result showed BSTc was a similar size to that of a female brain


Who's research suggested genetics may be influential in creating GID?

Heylens et al. (2012) - compared 23Mz twins with 21 Dz twins - one of each pair was diagnosed with GID - 39% concordance in Mz twins - 0% in Dz twins - suggested there was a genetic element to GID


What are the two social-psychological explanations of gender identity disorder?

Psychoanalytic theory & cognitive explanation


What is the psychoanalytic theory explanation of GID?

Ovesey & Person (1973) - GID in males is caused by extreme separation anxiety before GI has been established - the child fantasises of a symbiotic fusion with the mother to remove the fear of separation so in a real sense becomes the mother and adopts the female GI


What support is there for the psychoanalytic theory?

Stroller (1973) - interviews with GID males showed overly close mother-son relationships - may lead to confused GI in long-run


What is the cognitive explanation of GID?

Liben & Bigler (2002) - extension of gender schema theory - emphasises individual differences in gender identity - suggest 2 pathways of gender development - dual pathway theory


What are the two pathways of gender development according to cognitive explanations?

The first is the development of gender schema then gender appropriate attitudes and behaviour like 'normal' according to Martin & Halverson
The second suggests the child's personal interests become more dominant than the gender identity and then influence gender schema - this may lead to non sex-typed schema - in most ppl this will lead to higher lvls of androgyny but in a minority it may cause GID


Give an example of how personal interests may lead to GID

A boy who finds that he personally plays with dolls a lot may come to think this is acceptable for boys as well as girls - when he realises it typically isn't he may develop GID


What are the evaluation points for the explanations of atypical gender development?

Contradictory evidence for BSTc (-)
Twin studies are inconclusive (-)
Biological explanations oversimplify a complex concept (-)
Issues with cognitive theory (-)


What contradictory evidence is there for BSTc?

It was assumed the BSTc was fully formed by 5 so any subsequent hormone therapy wouldn't affect the size of it - Hulshoff Pol et al. (2006) found it did effect the size of the BSTc - this undermined the theory that GID came from structural differences in the brain


How are twin studies into the causes of GID inconclusive?

In the twin studies the concordance rates are fairly low (39%) so not conclusive - furthermore it's difficult to separate the influence of nature and nurture in the investigations bc the twins are likely to have been exposed to similar environments also


How do biological explanations of GID oversimplify a complex concept?

Biological explanations tend to reduce complex conditions down to a neuroanatomical or hormonal lvl ignoring contributory psychological or social factors - an interactionist approach is best for explaining GID


What are the issues with the cognitive explanation of GID?

The theory is more descriptive than explanatory - little explanation of why a child may become interested in activities that are not consistent with their own sex and how this causes non sex-typed schema