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Biological Sex and Social Development

Biological and social factors contribute to experiences with gender and, thus, to sex differences in childhood and adolescence. Psychologists no longer debate whether nature (often construed as biology) or nurture (often construed as the social environment) was responsible for human behavior. Now, psychologists ask questions about the relative influence of nature and nurture on behavior. For example, they want to know the contexts that maximize sex hormone effects on emotional expression and how the environment can alter the link between genes and conduct disorder. In addition, the terms sex and gender are often used interchangeably, which may complicate how psychologists understand the differences between men and women. As a result, it may be difficult to know if the observed differences between men and girls are ...

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