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The Primary Shaper of Gender Differences - Research Paper Example

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Name Instructor Class 22 July 2012 Nurture: The Primary Shaper of Gender Differences When some people talk about gender, they immediately think of the dichotomy between masculinity and femininity. Some of them believe that gender is biological, such as men are born to be aggressive, while women are born to be submissive…
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The Primary Shaper of Gender Differences
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Download file to see previous pages Recent studies demonstrate, however, that nurture is a powerful force in affecting so-called “genetic” or “natural” gender differences (Sameroff 8). This paper asks: Are gender differences primarily caused by nature or nurture? This paper believes that gender differences, in terms of risk-taking, aggression, cognitive abilities, and language skills, are significant products of nurture, which refers to a host of diverse environmental factors. Risk-taking is commonly believed to be a masculine trait, but sources show that it is the environment, and not genetics, which plays a large role in shaping risk-taking attitudes and behaviors. In “Gender Differences in Risk Behaviour: Does Nurture Matter?” Booth and Nolen examined if choosing risky outcomes is truly an innate preference reserved for boys. They hypothesized that single-sex settings for girls can enhance their risk-taking behaviors than co-ed settings and these behaviors will not differ from boys. They recruited 260 students with an average age of 15 years old. The sampling came from Essex and Suffolk counties in the United Kingdom. The researchers used five rounds of lottery to determine risk-taking behaviors. Findings showed that gender differences in risk-taking preferences are affected by the school environment. In particular, girls from single-sex schools take the same risks as boys from co-ed and gender-exclusive schools and more than co-ed girls. Gender mix also affects risk-taking behaviors, where girls in all-girls groups take higher risks than those in mixed-sex groups. Booth and Nolen concluded that nurture variables had a significant impact on risk-taking behavior, where all-girls settings remove traditional gender influences on risk taking. Morrongiello, Zdzieborski, and Normand seek to provide an explanation for differences in risk-taking behaviors between men and women in their study, “Understanding Gender Differences in Children's Risk Taking and Injury.” They compared the reactions of mothers and fathers to their children’s risk-taking actions. Around 52 mother–father pairs participated, where their reactions to their sons and daughters were recorded before and after injuries. Findings showed differences in kinds and reasons of reactions; for instance, mothers were angry at their sons, while for their daughters, they showed disappointment and shock. The researchers quote psychologists Kessler et al: “…What is hegemonic at any given time depends on how the relations among different kinds of masculinity and femininity have been worked out” (17). Morrongiello, Zdzieborski, and Normand conclude that parents have gender-based perceptions, which affect their discipline approaches to their children regarding their risk-taking behaviors. The way they discipline their children, in turn, affects the existence of gender differences in terms of risk-taking. Nurture affects the genetic risks for aggression among men, which proves that the environment strongly brings about gender differences in aggressive personalities between men and women. Boutwell, Franklin, Barnes, and Beaver studied if genetic influences interact with the effects of spanking on children’s behaviors. They analyzed statistics from twin siblings that were gathered from a nationwide-survey. Findings showed that spanking can provoke aggression among children, especially for boys, when genetic risks are present. Boutwell et al. believe that boys are more predisposed to violence, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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