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Flashcards in Psychodynamic explanations of gender development Deck (13)
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What is Freud's psychoanalytic theory?

Children pass through 5 psychosexual stages;
1.Oral Stage - mouth
2. Anal stage - anus
3. Phallic stage - penis or clitoris
4. Latent stage - little or no focus for sexual pleasure
5. Genital stage - penis or vagina (sexual intercourse)


In which of Freud's stages does gender development occur?

The phallic stage which occurs between the age of 3-6 - prior to this they have no concept of gender identity and Freud considered children before this stage bisexual as they were neither (masc nor fem)


What two key stages for gender development occur in the phallic stage?

The Electra Complex or the Oedipus Complex


What is the Oedipus complex?

Boys develop incestuous feelings for there mothers - murderous hatred for their father - knows father is more powerful so is anxious he will castrate him if he finds out - to resolve the conflict the boy abandons his love for his mother and identifies with his father


What is the Electra Complex?

At the same stage girls experience penis envy - compete with mum for love of dad - resent mum for standing in way of love from dad & bc they blame her for lack of penis, believing she castrated her - eventually girls substitute penis envy for the desire to have children (Karl Jung proposed this not Freud)


How do Freud's theories relate to gender development?

Eventually according to Freud, both genders resolve their conflicts by identifying with the same sex parent - as such they take on the gender identity of that parent through internalisation


What is internalisation?

An individual adopts the attitudes an/or behaviours of another


What was the case of Little Hans?

Freud's sole, weak, piece of evidence for his theories. Freud suggested that Little Hans' morbid fear of being bitten by a horse was the displaced fear of his father (bc of the Oedipus Complex) bc the horse had blinkers that looked like his fathers glasses


What are the evaluation points for Freud's psychoanalytic theory as an explanation of gender development?

Research doesn't support the Oedipus Complex (-)
Inadequate account of female development (-)
What about non-nuclear families (-)
Lack of scientific rigour (-)


How does Freud's theory lack research support?

Freud's theory would suggest boys with harsher fathers would have stronger senses of gender identity bc they'd fear them more so identify more. Blakemore & Hill (2008) found sons of more liberal fathers tend to be more secure in their masculine identity


How does Freud's theory lack scientific rigour?

Freud's methods have been criticised for lacking rigour and many of the concepts he refers to are unconscious so untestable - not falsifiable so only 'pseudoscientific' as a result


How does Freud's theory neglect non-nuclear families?

Freud's theory relies on their being two different sex parents for the complexes to occur - we could assume if this isn't the case the child's sense of gender identity would suffer - Golombok et al. (1983) found that children in this situation developed normally


How did Freud's theory neglect the explanations of female gender development?

Most of the work into female gender development was done by Freud's contemporary Carl Jung - Freud admitted women were a mystery to him - his penis envy theory has been criticised for 'reflecting the patriarchal Victorian era in which he lived'