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Trait Differences In Sexes, Temperament And Cultures

1634 words - 7 pages

It is known that there are biological differences between males and females. This leads to the question of whether there are personality differences as well. There have been studies done to determine if there are also personality trait differences in temperament and cultures.
Studies have been performed to show gender differences in temperament. Else-Quest, Hyde, Goldsmith, and Van Hulle (2006) used meta-analytical techniques to estimate the gender differences in children from 3 months to 13 years across 35 dimensions and 3 factors of temperament. The three broad factors used to present the findings from the studies were identified by Shiner and Caspi (2003) as effortful control, negative affectivity, and surgency. The overall purpose of the study was to determine the magnitude of gender differences in dimensions of temperament and identify the modifiers that may be causing these gender differences.
The factor of effortful control is composed of attention regulations, inhibitory control and perceptual sensitivity (Else-Quest et al., 2006). In relation to effortful control, the factor itself and nine other dimensions were examined. Else-Quest et al. (2006) states that “dimensions included distractibility and persistence from the behavioral style approach; attention from criterial approach; and attention focus, attention shifting, inhibitory control, interest, low-intensity pleasure, and perceptual sensitivity from the psychobiological approach” (page #). The gender differences in effortful control were very large (Else-Quest et al., 2006). Gender differences in attention, attention focus, and low-intensity pleasure were significant yet small (Else-Quest et al., 2006) Attention shifting and perceptual sensitivity displayed a small to moderate gender differences, and inhibitory control displayed moderate differences as well. All gender differences favored girls (Else-Quest et al., 2006). These findings may represent an overall better ability of girls to regulate or focus their attention. From this idea and the moderate gender difference in inhibitory control, it is indicated that girls display a better ability to control to control their impulses and behaviors better than boys (Else-Quest et al., 2006). These abilities are considered to be major developmental tasks in childhood. A maturational lag that persists through middle childhood is suggested of males during this time period that may account for girls doing better in these tasks (Else-Quest, 2006). Even if boys were to “catch-up” with girls after the age of 13, it would not be demonstrated from this analysis.
Another dimension of effortful control is perceptual sensitivity. In separate studies, perceptual sensitivity has loaded on both the effortful control factor (Ahadi et al., 1993) and on another factor of orienting sensitivity, which correlated highly with the Big Five trait of Openness and Intellect (Rothbart et al., 2000). Perceptual sensitivity refers to a child’s ability to...

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