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Gender and Sexual Identity

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1.) What are the interactions between hormones and behavior? Do these interactions affect determination of gender identity?

2.) What do the biological factors of nature and the environmental influences of nurture play in regards to sexual differentiation and gender identity?

3.) Does nature or nurture have the greatest influence on gender identity? Sexual identity? What evidence from biopsychology can help to resolve this argument?

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1.) What are the interactions between hormones and behavior? Do these interactions affect determination of gender identity?

Hormones are responsible for sexual dimorphism (phenotypic sex differences) in the structure of the body and its organs. For example, hormones affect the internal sex organs including genitals, and secondary sex characteristics that can operate to influence a person's behavior. Thus some research indicates that hormones are responsible for the gender makeup that acts as determinants of feminine and masculine traits. In addition, hormones affect behavior by interacting with the nervous system through androgens that are presented during prenatal development. Thus, sex hormones affect the adult nervous system, which in turn influence physiological processes and behavior. Hormones influence sex in two ways: (1) by influencing the development from conception to sexual maturity of the anatomical, physiological, and behavioral characteristics that distinguish one as female or male, and (2) by activating the reproduction-related behavior of sexually mature adults. As Pinel (2006) points out, once an individual reaches sexual maturity gonadal hormones play a role in activating reproductive behavior. In the male the activating hormone is testosterone, and in the females it is the secretion of estrogen.

A potential source of evidence regarding hormonal regulations is the role of prenatal androgens on sexual orientation, typically seen in the ratio of the lengths of the second and fourth fingers [2D:4D]. (Grimbos, Dawood, Burriss, Zucker, & Puts, D., 2010). Androgens (class of steroid hormones that include testosterone) also play an important role in the development of sexual orientation in humans. Because of the early fetal development of sexual dimorphism associated with 2D:4D, researchers have suggested may be influenced by prenatal androgens. For instance, research has shown that male infants with sex-typical prenatal androgen exposure, and who have undergone gender reassignment have reported sexual attraction to females (Galis, Ten Broek, Van Dongen, & Wijnaendts, 2010).Thus, these findings, according to Galis et al., (2010) suggest that prenatal developmental events, including those dependent on sex hormones, have effects on sexual orientation. For instance, Grimbos et al. (2010) assert that males develop a lower 2D:4D than do females by the end of the first trimester of gestation.

2.) What do the biological factors of nature and the ...

Solution Summary

This solution discusses the interactions between hormone and behaviors.

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