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Explain the interaction between hormones and behavior, and how these interactions affect the determination of gender identity - Essay Example

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RUNNING HEAD: Gender Identity Topic: Gender Identity Name of the student: Under the guidance of: University: APA Format Gender Identity Introduction Gender identity may be described as a personal conception of oneself as female or male (Ghosh, 2012)…
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Explain the interaction between hormones and behavior, and how these interactions affect the determination of gender identity
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Download file to see previous pages On the other hand, gender role is a manifestation within the society by various observable factors like appearance and behavior (Ghosh, 2012). What exactly determines gender identity is a much debated issue (Yuan-shan and Li-quin, 2006). While some researchers argue that gender identity is mainly because of prenatal exposure to male hormones, other opine that social factors like rearing have an impact on gender identity and behavior. The role of nature and nurture in gender identity and gender role is yet debated in biopsychological circles and enormous research has been conducted in this regard. In this essay, the influence of hormones on gender identity and behavior will be discussed. Role of biological factors like hormones on sexual differences, behavior and gender identity Maturation of gender identity or gender development in a child begins in the intrauterine stage. Primary role is played by sexual dimorphism induced by hormones in the growing fetus. It is a fact that all human fetuses are actually primed to have a female sex and the default pathway is to have a female anatomy. However, during the 8th week of gestation, fetuses that have Y chromosome and have a functional locus for testes determining factor known as SRY gene, undergo testicular development. During this process, a steady surge of testosterone produced by the testes occurs and conversion of the inherently female fetus into a male fetus happens. The main virilizing hormone during gestation is dihydrotestesterone that occurs from testosterone (Yuan-shan and Li-quin, 2006). Certain other gene products also may be involved in the masculinization of the inherently female fetus. Another important factor that eventually leads to male phenotype is the production of antimullerian hormone that inhibits formation of mullerian ducts leading to development of female genitals (Ghosh, 2012). In this process, even the fetal brain is affected. Magnetic resonance imaging studies in animal and human models have revealed that certain parts of brain, like the amygdala, cerebellum, corpus callosum and preoptic hypothalamus are larger following exposure to intrauterine testesterone. On the other hand, in the female fetuses which are anyway deprived of testesterone, the corresponding parts are smaller. The follicular stimulating hormone which triggers the development of female genital tract and ovaries is present in both males and females, but its effect is superseded in males by the testesterone surge. Role of nurture on gender identity and gender behavior The environment in which the child is reared following birth has an influence on gender identity even much before the child is born. Parents and relatives create an environment in the house and buy clothes and toys appropriate for sex of the to-be-born baby after antenatal detection of sex has occurred. Even the names are different for boys and girls. Following birth, after appropriate assignment of sex has been made, environment plays a significant role in gender identity development. The parents rear the child as boy or girl and inculcate appropriate gender specific interactions. Some researchers have argued that gender identity is actually malleable in the first year of life, following which it is irreversible (Ghosh, 2012). This aspect has however been challenged. Researchers have argued that gender identity is typically an inborn characteristic and that it reaches a critical point during childhood. Mammalian ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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