Gender differences1

What are the differences between boys and girls? How different are they, and
what causes thses differences? How is gender identity developed and how does
it affect childrens behavior and attitudes? Gender identity is the awareness of
ones gender and all it implies (Human Development *text*, 286). Gender
differences are explained as psychological or behavioral differences between
both genders. There are many theories to how and why gender differences exist.
Some people argue that circumcision at birth is a factor, others say the
differences are greatly influenced by the human brain. Recent studies show that
there are great specific differences found in both the male and female brain.
Next, on one side people claim that evolution and biology is what makes us
different, and the other side, people plea that there is a lot more variation to the
gender roles. They say that society influences our reaction to the biological
course. Finally, today some sex differences are considered to be of social origin.
Whatever the case may be, many experiments have been conducted, and
although some differences are more obvious than others, boys and girls are more
It has been presented, with evidence, that circumcision of male infants
causes behavioral changes. Gender differences instead, may be the outcome of
the alter behavior of circumcised males. There are two studies which goals were
to examine the consequences and behavior of circumcision.In 1971 it was
concluded that circumcision was followed by non-rapid eye movement sleep
(NREM). The amount of NREM increased and the number of NREM sleep
periods increased. In 1974, after circumcision it was found prolonged
wakefullness with crying during hours immediately after the procedure. From
the results of these studies it can be concluded that circumcision does have
effects on infant behavior. However, the clarification must be awaited. Another
side to this issue is the thought that the difference in men and womens brains
causes the actual differences between men and women. During an annual
meeting in Toronto in 1999, it was stated that men have more neurons in the
cerebral cortex, the outer layer of the brain , and women have more neuropil,
and that has the processes allowing cell communication. Males have more
tightly packed and more numerous nerve cells than females. This research may
show why women are more prone to dementing illness than are men. Although
these variations cause differences in how the brain works, neither type is said to
Because there are similar gender roles in various cultures its suggested
that gender differences may be biologically based. By the time a child reaches
the age of 5, boys brains are close to 10 percent bigger than girls brains. Boys
have more gray matter in the cerebral cortex; this difference may be why girls
have greater neuronal density in the cerebral cortex. Evidence shows that size
differences in the corpus callosum are related to verbal fluency. Since girls have
greater corpus callosum than boys, that my help explain why girls have better
verbal skills. Another approach to this issue is the psychoanalytic approach.
Freud and others considered identification an important personality
development of early childhood. Freud believes that identification will happen
when young children repress their wishes to posses their parent of the opposite
sex and identifies with their parent of the same sex. Evidence from research
shows that gender identification is a result of gender typing. Gender typing is
the socialization process where children learn their appropriate gender roles.
Next, the cognitive approach. This is where the child comes to understand his
or her gender by thinking about their experience. This was presented by
Lawrence Kohlbergs cognitive-developmental theory. Here, Kohlberg states
that children do their own gender typing. Their behavior is then organized by
Finally, the socialization approach. This is where children learn their gender
roles by socialization with their peers, hence the name socialization approach.
Here, gender development is the result of interacting influences, personal and
social. This process starts at infancy even before a conscious understanding of
gender is formed. As children regulate their activities, standards of
gender-related behavior become internalized (Human Development *text*, 292).

This approach is also where parent and media influence fits. For example,
parents express their discomfort when their children do things according to the
opposite of their sex. Such as when boys play with their moms shoes, or when
girls play with trucks. This is shown more by the fathers about their sons,
probably because girls have more freedom than boys with the clothes they wear,
games they play and their friends. Also,

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