The Sexual Brain [(Video) Bingham, 1988] In this video the purpose was to explore through various studies if biology or culture effected behavior. He does this by going through various actual videos to support arguments as well he makes use of statistical fact to collaborate. Because most of his evidence was spoken I will present his words in paragraph form. To start he says that initially men and women should have different ways of thought and behavior because the most basic element of life, reproduction, is different for both men and women.
By this he means because men have relatively little to loss in reproduction they do not have to be as careful as women do, because of this difference men and women demonstrate different behavior. To follow if behavior is different perhaps this is reflective of a difference biologically. To support this he tells how brains in female rats are different then those of male rats. Specifically he mentions the hypothalamus, which controls what hormones are produced in the body. He then showed by changing the hormones in rats that you could cause them to exhibit different behavioral tendencies.
In birds, rats as well as monkeys by switching the hormones of males and females experimenters could cause their behaviors to reverse as well. This behavior effectively shows how behavior is indeed somewhat genetic. As well because our bodies develop because of our environment perhaps our ancestral roots have something to do with our current differences in certain activities. As humans were developing in Africa it was women who would stay in a centralized area and men who would hunt.
Because women had to stay together more often perhaps that is why they have developed various verbal skills over men, and men intern developed higher aggression do to the constant need to be active and hunt. More recently studies of females who received male hormones during a birth defect tend to demonstrate physical behavior that is typical of a boy at that age. As hormones are a biological aspect, it would follow that behavior is seemingly effected greatly by nature and not so much by nurture.
To further help this point of view he shows that women have a larger corpus callosum responsible for communication, and men have a thicker right cortex responsible for more physical activities. Even with all this supportive information he still points out that ninety percent of violent crime is committed by men, this demonstrating further how perhaps we are closer to our genetic self’s then we think. Research Project (Henke, 1997) The purpose of this experiment was to repeat some of the “pure” experiments done by Coltheart, Hull and Slater.
As well to evaluate there their tasks and discuss possible reasons for sex related differences in the performance of cognitive tasks. The procedures chosen to be tested in this experiment was the verbal test where subjects had mentally go threw the numbers a-z and state how many had the ‘ee’ sound. As well he tested the visual task which required subjects to mentally go threw numbers 1-9 and state which had a curve in them. Through both of these experiments the subjects had a partner to tell how much time the responses took and record how many mistakes were made.
It also may be important to note the subjects were given a sample test like the rated test before each experiment. In this study the results were as follows. In the verbal test females where found to have fewer errors in a smaller amount of time, but these differences were small at best. As well there were only half as many men tested as females. These results closely coincide with the results of the Coltheart experiment. On the visual test males had significantly less errors then females, as well they did the experiment in a much smaller amount of time.
As above it is important to note that there was about half as many men in the experiment as women. Like the verbal experiment these results are very similar to what Coltheart found in his visual tests. -Actual Results: Verbal Test Males: Mean Errors=0. 73 Mean Time=19. 5 n=15 Females: Mean Errors=0. 70 Mean Time=18. 95 n=30 -Actual Results: Visual Test Males: Mean Errors=0. 61 Mean Time=22. 14 n=18 Females: Mean Errors=0. 73 Mean Time=27. 29 n=30 The Socialization of Sex-Differentiated Skills and Academic Performance: A Mediational Model (Serbin, 1990)
The purpose of this article was to see using a multifactorial model which environmental factors influenced certain sex differences in academic performance. The study included children from grades K-6 from elementary schools in a large Canadian city. All the subjects came from a varied economical and social background. They hypothesized that the parental modeling of sex-differentiated patterns of behavior in the home would cause children to develop sex-typed behaviors in social situations. As well they believed that opportunities to play with male sex-typed toys would improve the children’s visual-spatial problem solving ability.
In addition measure’s of the children’s age as well as the parental education; maternal occupation level and occupational level were included as variables in the models. To create this model experimenters mailed questioners to the parents of the 347 children to fill out. With this questioner experimenter’s were able to find out demographic information, descriptions of the home environment as well as summaries of the children’s compliance, social adjustment, and academic competence. Teachers in the schools were able to record the children’s social competence, academic skills and achievement.
In the studies they found that only maternal occupation level, paternal education, and the availability of traditional male toys had a significant impact on academic performance. They also found that the father’s educational level was most strongly related to doing well academically is the sense of social factors. This is because a father with a higher education is more likely to pass off to his children the compliance to rules and order as well as the necessary skills to succeed in the classroom setting.
The study also found that girls due to their better social responsiveness were able to offset the boy’s superior performance on the visual-spatial tests. This test in-turn also being a good predictor of academic success. It is also noted in this experiment that verbal performance was not an active factor in predicting success in a social setting as previously thought. This study also found the division of labor between parents was not a determinate factor in academic performance, neither was the availability of female sex-typed toys.
The direct influence on sex-differentiated skill development seems to lie in family socialization practices as well as opportunities to practice specific skills within an everyday environment. In conclusion the experimenters found that because girls have a better “social scheme” suited for school they could perform better initially, but as boys are stimulated by use of visual spatial toys they tend to excel beyond there in-ability to sit still and surpass girls in academic ability.
Because all of these behaviors are taught for the most part at home it is very important to note the role of parental influence and its long-term effects on academic ability. General Discussion Similarities and Differences: In all the articles I have read there was no traits as frequent as men’s accelerated ability in visual-spatial tasks and women’s superior verbal ability. Both of these traits were almost always presented together in studies suggesting that they are generally accepted characteristics. From all the information I have pored over I have found that men visual-spatial ability is the most valid of all the sex different claims.
However because so many of the articles covered the nature/nurture argument I would have to say that I believe it is a combination of both factors. I say this because nature through our ancestors shaped that ability to manipulate physical objects for hunting and tool making, which reflects itself in visual-spatial tasks (Bingham, 1988). But also through our own social traditions men have seemed to favor their children carrying on the physical tradition. Whether this be in the form of Lego blocks or sports men tend to stick to there physical roots which continually are reinforced through our current culture (Serbin, 1990).
As to the issue of women’s superior verbal ability even though it is not as established as former male ability I still find it has roots in both nature and nurture. By this I mean because women are the half of the human race to have children this has caused not only a different physiological structure but also a different social structure. To elaborate, women with children had to stay close to a central location of protection and therefore be close to other women (Bingham, 1988).
In this close association we see a need for better verbal communication because without it survival would have been hard without fellow women to help out in times of need. This tradition is also reinforced in culture because women are usually taught in act in a specific manner from early birth. (Serbin, 1990) This relates to verbal ability because this “training” often involves proper etiquette as well as proper social conventions. Because of these reinforced behavior patterns throughout human history we see the physiological differences in female communication area’s compared to that of a mans, particularly the corpus callosum.
Another similarity throughout the articles was the lack of cross-cultural studies pointed out by Fleming, 1986. Because of this article I find that I cannot look at many of the studies done in the same way because such cultural influences are so essential in determining such skills as visual-spatial ability and social tendencies. One other fundamental, universal trait I found in many of the articles was male aggression in comparison to females, again I have to say I believe this is due to both man’s nature as well as social influence.
It can generally be agreed upon that because man was traditionally a hunter he possessed a body that could allow him to do so (Bingham, 1988). Given the relative time since man has been has truly become “civil” its no wonder that we are as violent as we are. Nature has made us aggressive because it was an important survival technique and without it we may not have survived. Because modern society has no demand for the ancient hunter these primal needs can seen to be satisfied in other areas of culture.
It is because culture still holds so many aspects of aggression that man is perhaps reluctant to let go of this familiar trait. In this matter nature is not innocent either, this is so because over time man has developed a mind that is not only culturally different then a females but also physiologically different as is pointed out in Bingham’s video. Some of the differences that I did find in the various information I reviewed was inconsistency of detail, by this I mean some of the articles went very in-depth into the actual process’s involved in getting results were others were very general.
This intern made it very hard to compare some of the studies. An additional difference I found was a variance in procedures used to come to conclusion about such issues as visual-spatial test etc. As Fleming pointed out in his article, clear globally conclusive studies can never be made if methods for researching sex differences are never established. Relation of Experiment in Class: The information from the experiment conducted in class coincides very accurately with the rest of the studies I have reviewed.
In particular the area of the visual task was in total agreement with articles such as Deaux, Serbin, and Coltheart. The verbal task was also very accurate in the sense that the connection was somewhat weak, as is shown in Deaux, and Fleming’s studies. The relation of this study to the Coltheart experiment should be obvious, I found that the experiments were almost identical accept in the atmosphere which they were conducted. Personally I believe much error was probably involved in the class experiment because of people who were not aware of the procedure as well ill timing procedures.
Even with these effects the results still show a similarity with the Coltheart experiment that can not be denied. My Own Thoughts, Opinions and Criticism: Personally I felt this essay was a learning experience but at times the amount of irrelevant information associated with the topic of sex differences was annoying. I thought that Fleming had the most effective article because he always kept focus on his issues and only brought in as much proof as was necessary to proof his point. I also enjoyed his article because it had very powerful, seemingly obvious points that were not explored in other articles.
The worst article by far was Deaux’s because of the incredible difficulty of actually extracting useful information from the article. Ever time he did make a solid point he went on to disprove its validity in the next sentence. Also he never provided any useful concluding statements so at the end it was very hard to tie together all the various scattered information. To his credit I have to agree with him when he says new theories on the topic are relatively rare, yes techniques have varied but the true genius of ideas has only in my eyes been found in Fleming’s article.
All in all I realized how truly difficult it is to come to conclusions about a seemingly black and white topic. In conclusion the area of sex differences is as vast as 5 billion humans will allow. Even though many of the studies I reviewed are very in-depth they have also demonstrated how clear answers at this point in time can not be agreed upon. But because new inventive people and technology enter this field everyday there is great promise that one day a unified answer will be found.