Describe and discuss the biological approach in relation to gender development. Refer to at least one piece of empirical evidence in your answer. [10 marks]
The biological approach is one that argues strictly from the nature perspective in the nature- nurture debate. It argues that acquisition of gender roles are a result of evolution, our genetic makeup, and our levels of hormones. It therefore states that sex and gender are the same, and gender is pre-determined before birth(AO1). This contrasts with the SLT of gender development which argues that the environment and social factors within it are the cause of gender role acquisition(AO2).
From an evolutionary perspective, the biological approach would argue that it is adaptive for males to be masculine and females to be feminine. For example, generations are more likely to survive if females display feminine traits such as nurturing children, and males display masculine traits such as protecting and providing(AO1). This evolution has caused males and females to have different chromosomes, and therefore, this is why distinguished gender roles can be seen today(AO1).
This approach also states that differing chromosomes trigger the production of different hormones. These differing hormones, contribute to the difference in gender development(AO1). Van Goozen conducted a study to investigate the influence of sex hormones on adult behaviour, which involved studying transsexuals of both sexes whilst undergoing hormone treatment. A range of typical gender differing tests where undergone before treatment, and repeated 3 months after treatment. The result were that male-to-female transsexuals showed decreases in typical masculine traits such as aggression and visual-spatial skills, but increases in feminine behaviour such as verbal fluency. Female-to-male transsexuals showed the opposite(AO2). This suggests that sex hormones do have an effect on gender related behaviours, and the biological approach would conclude...