The Nature-Nurture Debates: 25 Years of Challenges in Understanding the Psychology of Gender

Alice H. Eagly, Wendy Wood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations

Abstract

Nature-nurture debates continue to be highly contentious in the psychology of gender despite the common recognition that both types of causal explanations are important. In this article, we provide a historical analysis of the vicissitudes of nature and nurture explanations of sex differences and similarities during the quarter century since the founding of the Association for Psychological Science. We consider how the increasing use of meta-analysis helped to clarify sex difference findings if not the causal explanations for these effects. To illustrate these developments, this article describes socialization and preferences for mates as two important areas of gender research. We also highlight developing research trends that address the interactive processes by which nature and nurture work together in producing sex differences and similarities. Such theorizing holds the promise of better science as well as a more coherent account of the psychology of women and men that should prove to be more influential with the broader public.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)340-357
Number of pages18
JournalPerspectives on Psychological Science
Volume8
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2013

Keywords

  • meta-analysis
  • nature and nurture
  • psychology of gender
  • sex differences and similarities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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