Nature Based Explanations

Nature-based explanations of sex differences have grown in popularity in recent years due to the emergence of research identifying particular genes that reflect personality traits (e.g., Egeland, Gerhard, Pauls, & Sussex, 1987). Unless these genes are located on the 23rd chromosome pair, however, they are not sex-linked and would not differentiate men from women directly. The chromosome pair responsible for sex differences, including those formatted in utero by means of hormones that influence the developing fetus, is the 23rd. Hormones produced by this pair are capable of modifying the effects of genes from other pairs, thus making their own influence more widely felt than one might at first assume.

The "nature" side of the nature-nurture debate in the area of sex differences is further bolstered by studies of heritability (e.g., Stein, Jang, & Livesley, 2002) that examine similarities in emotion, personality, and psy-chopathology between relatives with varying degrees of genetic similarity. Although such studies recognize a reaction range (a degree to which nurture or environment can reshape a characteristic), they assume that nature provides a significant contribution to individual differences in personality and emotion. Nature-based explanations of sex differences frequently attribute these to the sexually dimorphic brain. There are sex differences in brain size (men's are larger), laterality (men's are more lateralized), and responsiveness (different regions of men's and women's brains react differently to similar stimuli, e.g., Karama et al., 2002) with differences being tied to the effects of testosterone released during fetal development. Findings that are consistent across cultures (e.g., Costa et al., 2001; Munroe et al., 2000) suggest that personality and emotion may be pancultural and innate, and therefore nature based. However, the same studies that report similar patterns of differences across cultures (e.g., Eid & Deiner, 2001) are also quick to point out differences within a particular culture. The presence of such differences confirms that nurture is a contributing factor to sex differences in personality and emotion. As well, the appearance of the same sex difference across cultures is a necessary condition for considering that difference an innate one, but not a sufficient condition: similarities across cultures may be caused by similarities of cultures. It is relatively difficult to attribute causality when similar cultures have one or more factors in common (Ember, 1996).

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment