Glossary of Key Terms and Concepts

Gender, Nature, and Nurture - Richard A. Lippa 2014

Glossary of Key Terms and Concepts

Activating (or activational) effects of sex hormones: When sex hormones, usually after birth, activate behavioral patterns or tendencies that were laid down earlier (sometimes prenatally) in the development of the nervous system.

Alleles: Alternate versions of a given gene (e.g., the gene for eye color).

Androgens: Male sex hormones; two well-know androgens are testosterone and dihydrotestosterone.

Androgen insensitivity: A genetic condition that occurs when affected individuals lack androgen receptors in their cells, which makes their tissues unable to utilize androgens; XY individuals with complete androgen insensitivity appear and develop as females.

Androgen receptors: Proteins in cells designed to "hook up" with testosterone and thereby allow it to affect gene expression in the nucleus of the cell.

Androgynous: Having both male and female characteristics; in Sandra Bern's two-dimensional model of masculinity and femininity, the androgynous individual is high on both instrumental and expressive traits.

Artistic occupations: Occupations that involve creating artistic products; one of six kinds of occupation in John Holland's RIASEC model.

"Baby X" studies: Experiments that present participants with babies who are labeled as being either male or female; their goal is to see if people treat babies differently depending on their perception of the babies' gender.

Behavior genetics: An area of research that attempts, usually via twin and adoption studies, to estimate how much of the variability in a trait (such as masculinity-femininity) is due to genetic factors, shared environmental factors, and unique environmental factors.

Behavioral confirmation: The process that occurs when a person acts in ways that induce others to act consistently with the person's beliefs and stereotypes.

Big Five personality traits: Five broad personality traits that are thought to comprise the fundamental dimensions of human personality: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, and openness to experience.

Classical conditioning: A kind of learning that occurs when an involuntary response (e.g., salivation or emotional arousal) is learned in response to a new stimulus (e.g., a bell); classical conditioning results when a learned and an unlearned stimulus (e.g., a bell and food) are repeatedly paired together.

Cloacal exstrophy: A profound congenital disorder that leads to gross abnormalities of the abdominal organs and, in boys, a missing or badly deformed penis; in the past, doctors often advised parents to surgically reassign the sex of such boys and rear them as girls.

Cognitive-developmental theory: A theory, originating with Lawrence Kohlberg, that children's conceptions of gender are critical in motivating them to behave in masculine and feminine ways.

Collectivist cultures: Cultures In which people view themselves more in terms of their social roles and relations to others; women's self concepts may be more like those of people in collectivist cultures.

Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH): A condition caused by a genetic defect that causes the adrenal glands to enlarge prenatally and produce abnormally high amounts of androgens (male hormones); as a result. CAH girls may be physically and behaviorally masculinized.

Conventional occupations: Occupations that require people to plan and operate business machines, process data, and keep records; one of six kinds of occupation in John Holland's RIASEC model.

Corpus callosum: A huge crescent-shaped band of nerve fibers that joins the two hemispheres (halves) of the brain.

d statistic (or Cohen's d statistic): A measure of the difference between two groups on some measured trait; it is calculated as the difference in the means of two groups divided by the weighted average of the two group standard deviations; meta-analyses use the d statistic to combine the results from many studies; by convention, a d value of 0.2 is considered small, a value of 0.5 is moderate, and a value of 0.8 is large.

Diethylstilbestrol (DES): A synthetic estrogen that was administered to women in the 1950s and 1960s to prevent miscarriages; researchers studied the possible effects of DES on the gender-related behaviors of children whose mothers received DES.

Dihydrotestosterone: An androgen or male hormone that is a metabolite of testosterone and is responsible for masculinizing the external genitals during male fetal development.

Digital divide: Refers to differences in groups' (i.e., boys' and girls') knowledge and use of computers and differences in their comfort using computers.

DNA: The molecule found in the nuclei of cells that carries the genetic code; DNA is the recipe for life that guides the physical development of body tissues.

Enterprising occupations: Occupations that involve manipulating other people to achieve organizational goals or to make money; one of six kinds of occupation in John Holland's RIASEC model.

Estrogens: Female sex hormones, typically produce by the ovaries; estrogen can also be produced as a metabolite of testosterone.

Evolutionary theory: Theory based on Charles Darwin's assumptions that (a) the traits of all species show variation, (b) traits can be passed from generation to generation (principle of inheritance or heredity), and (c) natural selection determines which traits are passed from generation to generation (i.e., traits are "selected to" that foster survival and reproduction in a given environment).

Expressive traits: Communal traits such as warmth, sympathy, compassion, and sensitivity to others; such traits define femininity in the two-dimensional model of masculinity and femininity; common stereotypes hold that women possess these traits more than men do.

Femininity (and masculinity): Those aspects of gender that vary among men and among women. Until the early 1970s, these traits were conceived as opposite sides of a single individual difference dimension. In the two-dimensional model, femininity was defined in terms of expressive, communal traits; in the gender diagnosticity approach, femininity was defined in terms of female-typical interests and occupational preferences.

Fight-or-flight response: The tendency to respond to threatening situations with aggression or withdrawal; may be more typical of males than females under stress.

Fuzzy concepts: Mental concepts that are defined by multiple attributes and that do not have clear-cut boundaries; masculinity and femininity may be viewed as fuzzy concepts.

Gender constancy, i he understanding achieved by 4- to 7-year-old children that being male or female is a stable attribute that does not change across situations or with superficial physical changes.

Gender diagnosticity (GD): The estimated probability that a person is male or female, based on pieces of gender-related information; in the GD approach, masculinity-femininity is typically measured by assessing how male-typical or female-typical an individual's interests and occupational preferences are.

Gender schema theory: Sandra Bern s theory that masculinity and femininity are not fixed, inner personality traits but rather result from the degree to which a person tends to conceptualize the world in terms of gender. Bern's and other researchers' gender schema theories propose that individuals' gender beliefs (i.e., their gender schemas) can influence their memory perception, and gender-related behavior.

Gender aschematic individuals: In Sandra Bern's gender schema theory, people who have weak gender beliefs and who do not strongly evaluate their own and others' behavior in terms of gender-appropriateness; they tend not to act in stereotypically masculine or feminine ways. The gender aschematic individual replaced Bern's earlier concept of the androgynous individual.

Gender gap in politics: The common research finding that women and men, on average, hold different political attitudes and differ in the degree to which they vote for particular political candidates.

Gender schematic individuals: In Sandra Bern's gender schema theory, people who have strong gender beliefs and who strongly evaluate their own and others' behavior in terms of gender and gender-appropriateness; they tend to act in stereotypically masculine or feminine ways.

Gonads: Sex glands that produce germ cells (i.e., sperm and eggs) and sex hormones: testes in males and ovaries in females.

Heritability: The proportion of variability in a given trait (e.g. IQ or masculinity-femininity) in a given population that is due to genetic factors.

Hormones: Chemical messengers carried by blood from one part of the body to another; they catalyze physiological processes, regulate DNA expression, and guide tissue growth, sex hormones lead to physical sex differences and may influence gender-related behaviors such as sexuality and aggression.

Hot potato effect: When children avoid an attractive toy that has been labeied as being a toy preferred by the other sex.

Hypothalamus: A small brain structure attached to the pituitary gland, that is responsible for many essential motives such as hunger, thirst, aggression, and sex; some regions of the hypothalamus show sex differences.

Ideas-data dimension: One of two major dimensions of occupational preferences; idea-oriented occupations require creative thought and intellectual effort, whereas data-oriented occupations involve more routine and less intellectually demanding kinds of work.

Indirect aggression: Sometimes termed relational aggression, this refers to hurting others by ostracizing them from social groups and gossiping and spreading malicious rumors about them, in contrast to direct, physical aggression.

Individualist cultures: Cultures in which people view themselves more in terms of their autonomous principles, traits, values, and abilities; men's self-concepts may be more like those of people in individualist cultures.

Instrumental traits: Agentic traits such as independence, assertiveness, dominance, and leadership ability, such traits define masculinity in the two-dimensional approach to masculinity and femininity; common stereotypes hold that men possess instrumental traits more than women do.

Investigative occupations: Occupations that entail investigating physical, biological, behavioral, and cultural phenomena; one of six kinds of occupation in John Holland's RIASEC model.

Kin selection (or inclusive fitness): An evolutionary process whereby animals may ensure that their genes live on by helping those who share their genes (i.e., blood relatives) to survive and reproduce; thus traits that foster the survival of genetic relatives (e.g., altruism toward kin) may result from natural selection.

Laissez-faire leadership: A leadership style that occurs when leaders do not manage group members much and instead let them do their own thing.

Lateralization of the brain: Refers to differences in structure and in function between the right and left hemispheres (or halves) of the brain.

Lordosis: The sexual presenting posture in female rats.

Masculine superiority effect: The common finding that instrumentality better predicts adjustment (i.e., self-esteem, depression, and anxiety) than expressiveness does.

Masculinity (and femininity): i hose aspects of gender that vary among men and among women. Until the early 1970s, masculinity and femininity were conceived as opposite sides of a single, bipolar individual difference dimension. In the two-dimensional model, masculinity was defined in terms of instrumental personality traits; in the gender diag-nosticity approach, masculinity was defined in terms of male-typical interests and occupational preferences.

Masculinity-femininity (M-F ): A bipolar, unidimensional personality trait that assesses individual differences in gender-related personality in the research tradition begun by Terman and Miles in the 1920s and continuing to the early 1970s; items on most masculinity-femininity tests were selected because they showed sex differences in response; however, such masculinity-femininity tests often contained heterogeneous content.

Meta-analysis: The technique of quantitatively combining (i.e., numerically averaging) the results from different studies. Meta-analyses can show the magnitude of "on-average" sex differences, based on the results of many studies; they can also investigate factors that moderate sex differences.

Modeling: A kind of social learning that occurs when people imitate others' behavior.

Mommy track: A proposed career track for management women who want to tone down their career goals while they are rearing young children, for example, by working shorter or more flexible hours.

Morphs: Different biological forms of males or females within a given species; morphs may specialize in different mating strategies.

Multifactorial theory of gerider: A theory proposed by Janet Spence that argues that different components of gender—interests, attitudes, abilities, and sexuality—do not cohere very well, and that masculinity and femininity do not comprise simple, coherent dimensions of personality.

Miillerian ducts: Fetal structures that will develop Into the fallopian tubes and uterus in females.

Operant conditioning: A kind of learning that occurs when voluntary behaviors are molded by their rewarding or punishing consequences.

Organizing (or organizational) effects of sex hormones: When sex hormones, often prenatally, influence the development, structure, and organization of the nervous system.

Otoacoustic emissions: Very faint sounds produced spontaneously by the inner ear or produced in response to faint clicks; such emissions show sex differences.

Oxytocin: A hormone that is linked to attachment, pair-bonding, and romantic love; it also likely plays a role in fostering maternal behavior.

People-things dimension: One of two major dimensions of occupational preferences; people-oriented occupations involve managing, thinking about, and interacting with other people, whereas thing-oriented occupations involve working with machines, equipment, and inanimate objects.

Progesterone: A hormone that prepares females bodies for pregnancy; it may also play a role in fostering maternal behavior.

Prolactin: A hormone that triggers uterine contractions during labor and stimulates the milk let down reflex in nursing mothers; it may also play a role in fostering maternal behavior.

Realistic occupations'. Occupations that involve work with machines, tools, equipment, and farm animals; one of six kinds of occupation in John Holland's RIASEC model.

Reductase-deficient males: XY individuals who have a single-gene defect that causes problems with the production of an enzyme (reductase) that converts testosterone to dihydrotestosterone. As a result, such individuals' brains are masculinized by testosterone during fetal development, but they may be born with female-appearing genitals and reared as girls.

RIASEC or hexagon model. John Holland s model of occupations and occupational preferences, which holds that there are six main kinds of occupations (realistic, investigative, artistic, social, enterprising, and conventional) arranged in a hexagon according to their similarity or dissimilarity.

Self-efficacy beliefs: Beliefs people hold aDout their capabilities to engage in various activities, such as doing math or taking care of babies; cognitive social learning theories propose that such beliefs influence our behavior and are molded by "graded mastery" experiences—gradually increasing success experiences.

Self-fulfilling prophecy: The process that occurs when peoples stereotypes lead them to act in ways that cause both themselves and others to behave consistently with the stereotypes.

Self-presentational theories of gender: Theories that propose that gender is something we do, not something we are; such theories see gender as a performance that varies depending on the social setting and people's beliefs.

Sex chromosomes: The chromosomes that carry the genes that determine the sex of an individual; in mammals, the sex chromosomes are labeled X and Y—females have two X chromosomes (XX) and males have an X and a Y chromosome (XY).

Sex segregation: The strong tendency for children to play and socialize largely with members of their own sex.

Sexual selection: A kind of natural selection that occurs when traits evolve because they help animals attract mates, drive off same-sex rivals, and reproduce.

Shared environmental factors: Environmental influences (e.g., social class) that are shared by siblings and therefore tend to make siblings similar on traits (e.g., personality and IQ).

Social constructionism: A theoretical perspective that holds that gender is socially defined and historically and cross-culturally variable; it also argues that scientific knowledge is relative and influenced by researchers' beliefs and cultural assumptions.

Social learning theories: Theories that explain the acquisition of gender-related behaviors in terms of basic learning processes such as classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and modeling.

Social occupations: Occupations that involve counseling, managing, teaching, and directing other people; one of six kinds of occupation in John Holland's RIASEC model.

Social role theory: Alice Eagly's theory, which proposes that social roles constrain women's and men's behavior, and that gender stereotypes and behavioral sex differences are due to social roles, not to innate sex differences.

Social-emotional behaviors: Group behaviors such as telling a joke to relieve group tension or praising another group member who does a good job; such behaviors are focused on maintaining personal relationships in groups.

Spinal nucleus of the bulbocavernosus: A collection of nerve cells in the lower spine that controls (in men) a muscle that wraps around the base of the penis and contracts during ejaculation and (in women) a muscle that wraps around the opening of the vagina and controls vaginal contraction; this nucleus shows a sex difference in size.

Stereotypes'. Probabilistic beliefs people hold about groups of people, such as men and women.

Stereotype threat: A process, described by Clause Steele, that occurs when negative stereotypes about a group's ability (e.g., women's math ability) triggers in group members anxiety, negative self-evaluations, and concerns about how well they will be perceived; such concerns can undermine group members' performance in some settings.

Task-oriented behaviors: Group behaviors such as offering information or asking for solutions to problems, which focus on achieving the work goals of groups.

Tend-and-befriend response: The tendency to respond to threatening situations by caring for others (e.g., friends, children) and seeking out social support; may be more typical of females than males under stress.

Testosterone: An androgen, or male hormone, produced primarily by the testes in males and (to a lesser degree) by other glands in females; there is a surge in testosterone in the middle trimester (second third) of male fetal development, which masculinizes the nervous system and internal genital structures; testosterone may also play an activating role in adult behaviors such as aggression and sexual behaviors.

Transactional leadership: A ieadersnip style that involves managing group members through the use of instructions, punishments, and rewards.

Transformational leadership: A leadership style that uses inspirational leadership to gain the trust, confidence, and admiration of group members.

Turner syndrome: A genetic condition that occurs when individuals have only one sex chromosome, which necessarily is an X chromosome; such individuals typically do not have ovaries that produce estrogen, but they nonetheless develop as females.

Undifferentiated: In Sandra Bern's two-dimensional mode! of masculinity and femininity, the undifferentiated individual is low on both instrumental and expressive traits.

Unique environmental factors: Environmental influences that are not shared by siblings (e.g., when parents treat siblings differently) and that therefore tend to make siblings dissimilar on traits (e.g., personality and IQ).

Wolffian ducts: Fetal structures that will become the vas deferens and seminal vesicles in males.

X chromosome: A sex chromosome; mammalian females possess two X chromosomes, whereas mammalian males possess an X and a Y chromosome in each eel!.

X inactivation: The process in mammalian females whereby one of the two X chromosomes is turned off or inactivated in each ceil

Y chromosome: A sex chromosome possessed by male but not female mammals; it carries Sry, the sex-determining gene that triggers male sexual development.