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Archive for the ‘Gender Notes’ Category

“Although gender differences on average are not under dispute, the idea of consistently and inflexibly gender-typed individuals is,” Bobbi J. Carothers of Washington University in St. Louis and Harry T. Reis of the University of Rochester explained in their study. “That is, there are not two distinct genders, but instead there are linear gradations of variables associated with sex, such as masculinity or intimacy, all of which are continuous.”

Analyzing 122 different characteristics from 13,301 individuals in 13 studies, the researchers concluded that differences between men and women were best seen as dimensional rather than categorical. In other words, the differences between men and women should be viewed as a matter of degree rather than a sign of consistent differences between two distinct groups.

via Study debunks notion that men and women are psychologically distinct | The Raw Story.

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Mice, constantly stressed by changing their cage composition during adolescence, exhibit anxiety and poor social interactions throughout adulthood. Seems like a no-brainer, right?

This stress was especially prominent in fema

le mice who were stressed in this way. The experiment then proceeded using only the stressed male mice.

And then, along comes this oddity:

The male mouse, when mated with a non-stressed female mouse, passes on the excessive anxiety to *only* his female offspring. Not only that, but his (non-stressed) sons pass it on again, in their own female offspring.

It seems there is a little understood biochemical change in the male’s sperm taking place.

via Male mice exposed to chronic social stress have anxious female offspring.

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Culture makes a difference. The way we think, believe and live impacts the equality of all humans within our societies. Change a mind, change a life.

The best and worst places in the world to be a woman, in an infographic based on Save The Children’s annual State of the World’s Mothers report, comparing data from 165 countries.

This infographic crunches data on maternal health, economic status, education, contraception use, and other factors to show where women are doing well and where their lives can be exceptionally hard.

Unsurprisingly, the Scandinavian countries that often top quality of life rankings are tops, with longer life expectancies, years in school, more contraception use, a higher percentage of government seats held by women, and a higher ratio of female to male earned income. 

via The Best And Worst Places In The World To Be A Woman | Co.Exist: World changing ideas and innovation.

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cientists have frequently questioned whether differences in competitive behavior could in part be explained by differing physiological responses to competition. In their new study, researchers from Harvard and Duke collected saliva from the apes using cotton wads dipped in Sweet Tarts candy, then measured hormone levels before and after pairs from each species were presented with a pile of food.

They found that males of both species who were intolerant and could not share with their partners showed hormonal changes in anticipation of competing for the food, but bonobos and chimpanzees were completely different in which hormones increased.

Male chimpanzees showed an increase in testosterone, which is thought to prepare animals for competition or aggressive interactions. By contrast, male bonobos showed an increase in cortisol, which is associated with stress and more passive social strategies in other animals.

“Chimpanzee males reacted to the competition as if it was a threat to their status, while bonobos reacted as if a potential competition is stressful by showing changes in their cortisol levels,” said Victoria Wobber, a Harvard graduate student and first author of the study.

Human males usually experience an increase in cortisol before many types of competition in a similar way as seen in the bonobos. However, if men have what is called a “high power motive,” or a strong desire to achieve high status, they experience an increase in testosterone before a competition.

“These results suggest that the steroid hormone shifts that are correlated with the competitive drive of men are shared through descent with other apes,” Wobber said.

via Some males react to competition like bonobos, others like chimpanzees.

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According to a new study by Swedish researchers at GARP (Göteborg Alcohol Research Project), alcohol abuse appears to be much more detrimental to the female brain than to the male brain in the short term. The findings are disturbing, and pretty clear. GARP, a multidisciplinary team, found that both men and women experienced a loss of serotonergic function, but that women showed a significant loss after only four years of excessive alcohol abuse, whereas men showed the same significant loss after 14 years of alcohol abuse.

Alcohol abuse has been associated with reduced serotonin function, dopamine function and a reduction of noradrenaline activity. This was the first time all three functions were investigated in the same alcohol dependent individuals.

Researchers were shocked to note the disparity between females and males. Both showed a 45% decrease in serotonin function, but the decrease was evident in women after just four years of alcohol abuse. Gender difference hasn’t been considered a major factor in the treatment of alcoholism up to this point, but may need to be altered based on these findings. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that has enormous influence over many brain functions. Some of the functions it influences are appetite, sleep, memory and learning, temperature regulation, mood, behavior (including sexual and hallucinogenic behavior), cardiovascular function, muscle contraction, endocrine regulation, and depression. the 45% decrease is significant. It is not known how much of the function can return if abstinence is employed, nor whether it can return fully unaided.

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