Higher Education

Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. It furthers the University's objective of excellence in research, scholarship, and education by publishing worldwide.

Part I
Anatomy and Destiny: Biological Arguments about Gender Difference

Content Questions

(Javascript must be enabled for this exercise.)

1. What three types of evidence do biologists use to explain the existence of sex differences?


2. Why might social scientists question explanations of gender which rely strongly on biology?


3. According to sociobiologists such as David Buss, how have women’s “adaptive problems” differed from men’s throughout our history as a species?


4. What does Buss mean by a male who is “able to invest”?


5. According to Buss, does evolutionary psychology imply that there will never be any changes in relations between the genders?


6. Why does Robert M. Sapolsky describe himself as a member of a genetic minority which is associated with a wide range of antisocial behaviours?


7. What is the “permissive effect” that Sapolsky associates with testosterone?


8. Sapolsky notes that female hyenas, which have very high levels of testosterone and typically dominate males in the wild, took a long time to establish dominance behaviour in captivity. What does this suggest about the role of testosterone in aggression and violence?


9. Does Judith Lorber that believe that there are two distinct sexes?


10. Why are women’s sports often considered “inferior” versions of men’s sports, according to Lorber?




Multiple Choice Questions for Part I

Instructions: For each question, click on the radio button beside your answer. When you have completed the entire quiz, click the Submit my answers button at the bottom of the page to receive your results.

Question 1:

a) Hormonal explanations for gendered behaviours
b) Testosterone
c) Psychoanalytic theories of gender
d) Early human history
e) Sexual selection

Question 2:

a) Imposing our preconceived ideas about gender on a wide range of physical differences
b) The importance of visual confirmation of sex differences
c) Openmindedness in considering the origins of sex differences
d) The attractiveness of females to males
e) Both B and D

Question 3:

a) They are descended from different human population.
b) Society and culture and have created gender differences.
c) The sexes do not differ in their behaviours.
d) The sexes face different adaptive problems.
e) Men are physically less resilient than women.

Question 4:

a) Gaining sexual access to a large variety of mates
b) Securing the resources of one strong provider
c) Extended periods of gestations
d) Enhanced communication abilities
e) Monogamy

Question 5:

a) They are unrelated.
b) They always go together.
c) They tend to go together.
d) They are not found in females.
e) Both B and D

Question 6:

a) Researchers assume that testosterone is the cause of aggression.
b) Researchers assume that aggression is the cause of testosterone.
c) All research has been conducted with animals rather than humans.
d) All research has been conducted with males rather than females.
e) Testosterone research relies too heavily on cultural factors.

Question 7:

a) Adding testosterone to some monkeys drastically changed the hierarchy.
b) The monkeys with the lowest levels of testosterone became outcasts.
c) Hierarchies disappeared with the addition of testosterone.
d) Monkeys with added testosterone intensified their behaviours towards monkeys which were lower in the pecking order.
e) Monkeys with added testosterone were expelled from the social group.

Question 8:

a) As identical to men’s sexual organs
b) As the result of sexual selection
c) As the inverse (inside-out) of men’s sexual organs
d) As organs intended primarily for sexual expression rather than for reproduction
e) Both C and D

Question 9:

a) Less variability in men’s physical capacities than in women’s
b) Emphasis on speed and strength as the most important criteria for a socially valuable sport
c) Devaluation of feminine qualities including permissiveness, grace, and charm
d) Patriarchal insistence on the duality of the sexes
e) Olympic sex-testing

Question 10:

a) Bathrooms are designed around male bodily needs and women are expected to adapt.
b) There are longer lines in front of men’s bathrooms than in front of women’s.
c) Until recently, women were not permitted to use public bathrooms.
d) Men are not permitted to use women’s bathrooms except in cases of emergency.
e) Public bathrooms were invented with female physiology in mind.