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Gender Identity

Explain the interaction between hormones and behavior and how this interaction affects the determination of gender identity. Also evaluate biological psychology and environmental influences on sexual differentiation and gender identity. Based on your evaluation, determine which has the greater influence.

I need help getting started on this paper and need research validated evidence to support the discussion. Thank you.

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1. Explain the interaction between hormones and behavior and how this interaction affects the determination of gender identity.

Gender Identities refers to the assignment, often at birth, of one of two genders, usually based on our visible genitals. Mostly, this gender assignment fits and feels comfortable and people never think about it further. Others, however, do not feel as comfortable with their assigned gender for several reported reasons, such as they find the two-gender system too limiting or because they feel more identification with the gender opposite that to which they were assigned at birth. These people come to deal differently with these feelings of discomfort, sometimes only at the personal level, while others go public with these feelings. (See more detail at http://cfsh.ca/_pvw84B76CF8/Sexual_Health_Info/Gender-Identity-and-Sexual-Orientation/)

Hormones, however, have a power influence of both sexual development and sexual identity and other behaviors. The main biological influences of human development and behavior are the brain, neurotransmitters, hormones and genes. Whereas neurotransmitters are the message-carrying chemicals stored in synaptic vesicles of the brain, hormones are chemicals manufactured by the endocrine glands in various parts of the body that release hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemical messengers within the bloodstream that control physiological processes and mood, behavior, etc., similar to the neurotransmitters in the brain except that they work in the bloodstream versus the brain. However, sometimes the two concepts, neurotransmitters and hormones, are used interchangeably in the literature (http://www.psychcourse.com/biopsych).

Sex hormones are shown to determine physical anatomy of sexual development (male and female organs) through the endocrine system. However gender identity is not the same as sexual anatomy (male versus female). Our sexual organ development and secondary sexual characteristics appearing at puberty seems to be controlled completely controlled by hormones, which increase at the time of puberty for secondary sexual development in both male and females (e.g. levels of testosterone, androgen, progesterone and estrogen). However, how we identify with our maleness and femaleness seems to be more controlled by the environment (http://www.psychcourse.com/biopsych).

Biological evidence for behavior and sexual development:

o Endocrine System and Hormones. The endocrine system is a network of glands in various parts of the body that release hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemicals manufactured by the endocrine glands in various parts of the body that release hormones into the bloodstream. Hormones are chemical messengers within the bloodstream that control physiological processes and mood, behavior, etc., similar to the neurotransmitters in the brain except that they work in the bloodstream versus the brain. Stress and environmental events have a significant interaction and relationship with the endocrine system (http://www.psychcourse.com/biopsych).

The hormones produced by the Endocrine Glands are part of our biology that impacts behavior, including our sexual (male or female) development through the hormones released from the testes and ovaries.

o Thyroid Gland ?Releases hormones that regulate metabolism, development and growth.
o Pancreas ?Releases hormones that regulate the metabolism of sugar and juices containing enzymes needed for digestion.
o Pituitary Gland (in the brain)?Controls hormones released by other endocrine glands. It is a gland located in the brain that regulates a wide range of bodily activities from growth to reproduction.
o Adrenal Gland ?Releases hormones that affect energy level, mood and long-term reactions to stress.
o Testes/Ovaries ?Male and female reproductive organs. Testes produce sperm and release sex hormones in males. Ovaries produce egg cells and release sex hormones in females (http://www.psychcourse.com/biopsych).

Male Puberty and Secondary Sexual development controlled by hormones:
o Puberty may begin as early as age 9 and continue until age 16.
o At puberty, the testes start to produce testosterone.
o Testosterone causes reproductive organs to mature, facial and pubic hair to appear, and the voice to deepen (http://www.merck.com/mmhe/sec21/ch237/ch237d.html).

Puberty is the stage during which a person reaches full reproductive ability and develops the adult features of their gender. In boys, puberty usually occurs between the ages of 10 and 14 years. However, it is not unusual for puberty to begin as early as age 9 or to continue until age 16. The pituitary gland, which is located in the brain, initiates puberty. The pituitary gland secretes luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, which stimulate the testes to produce testosterone.

Testosterone is responsible for the development of secondary sex characteristics, features that distinguish the sexes but are not part of the ...

Solution Summary

Explains the interaction between hormones and behavior and how this interaction affects the determination of gender identity. It also evaluates how biological psychology and environmental influences on sexual differentiation and gender identity. Based on this evaluation, it also determines which has the greater influence. Research validated.

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