نظریه مغز افراطی مردان و رفتار نقش جنسیتی در افراد با شرایط طیف اوتیسم
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|36090||2011||6 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||محاسبه نشده|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, Volume 5, Issue 3, July–September 2011, Pages 1209–1214
According to the Extreme Male Brain theory persons with autism possess masculinised cognitive traits. In this study masculinisation of gender role behaviour is evaluated in 25 persons with an autism spectrum condition (ASC) and matched controls with gender role behaviour as part of a shortened version of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 and the Empathizing Quotient and Systemizing Quotient. Both males and females with an ASC showed minimum male role behaviour. It is suggested that the minimum male gender role could be related to an underdeveloped Theory of Mind, a well-known feature of autism.
Gender roles are the social behaviors, lifestyle, and personality characteristics that women and men are expected to exhibit (Burnette, 2006). It includes the rights and obligations that are normative for the sexes in a given society (Brinkerhoff & White, 1988). Sexuality on the other hand is a dynamic construct involving bodies, behaviors, meanings, social norms, institutions and conflicts (Weeks, 1986). Sexual behavior is an expression of socially constructed sexuality and is largely shaped, conceived and constrained according to norms within different societies. Moreover, societies that dictate different attitudes towards men and women with respect to youth sexuality further contribute to risk taking behavior (Hardee et al., 2004 and Miller and Whitaker, 2001). Gender role differentials widen during adolescence (Bruce et al., 1995 and Devasia and Devasia, 1991), as boys enjoy privileges reserved for men such as autonomy, mobility and opportunity while girls find their mobility and education restricted (Greene, 1997). Gender disparities and double standards have a considerable influence on the sexual and reproductive health and lives of young people (Tangmunkongvorakul, Roslyn, & Kaye, 2005). Inequitable gender norms and related behavior influence violence, HIV/STI, and sexual and reproductive health of young men and their intimate partners (Pulerwitz & Barker, 2008). Furthermore, the dominant norms of masculinity that is the most traditional beliefs about manhood adopted by young men, predicted the highest level of risk taking and of involvement in behaviors such as high-risk sexual activity (Courtenay, 2000). In the age of AIDS and in a country like India where talking about sex continues to be a taboo (TOI, 2009), understanding the sexual behavior especially of the youths holds an important and crucial place. Youths (15–24 years) who largely define the socio-economic and political future of a population are about 20 percent of the Indian population (RGI, 2001). Although the present generation is relatively more urbanised and better educated, social vulnerabilities persist and transitions to adulthood are often marked by abrupt and premature exit from school, entry into the labour force and strongly held gender norms (Jejeebhoy & Sebastian, 2004). National Aids Control Organization (2006) and Verma et al. (2004) are of the view that young people form a significant segment of those acquiring sexually transmitted infections and those infected by HIV/AIDS. Small-scale studies conducted in different parts of the country further highlights the existence of eve teasing, non-consensual sex, and sexual violence within and outside the marriage (George, 2003, IIPS Pop Council, 2007, Jaya and Hindin, 2007 and Mathew, 2005). Nonetheless, an important factor influencing young Indian men's HIV risk is early socialization in notions of masculinity that endorse inequitable gender-related attitudes and behaviors (Verma et al., 2006). Autism is considered to be one of the most devastating childhood disorders. It is characterized by an abnormal development in social behaviour, communication, and the presence of stereotyped behaviour, interests and activities (DSM-IV, 1994). Despite the high prevalence of this lifelong disorder the causes and symptoms of autism are still unclear (Hill & Frith, 2003). The extreme heterogeneity, leading to the collective term autism spectrum condition (ASC), is hampering research into the causes of autism. Bridging brain and behaviour, cognitive theories could be vital in reducing dozens of behavioural features down to one or two underlying psychological processes. One such cognitive theory is the Extreme Male Brain (EMB) theory which tries to elucidate both social and non-social features of autism (Baron-Cohen, 2002 and Baron-Cohen, 2009). The EMB theory proposes that persons with autism are characterized by weak empathizing skills (the ability to identify the mental states of others and give an appropriate emotional reaction to another person's thoughts and feelings) and strong systemizing skills (meaning the drive to analyze or construct systems by noting regularities and rules) (Baron-Cohen, 2009 and Baron-Cohen et al., 2005). Since females on average have stronger empathy skills and males have a stronger drive to systemize, the EMB theory states that persons with autism possess an extreme male brain (Baron-Cohen, 2002 and Baron-Cohen et al., 2005). According to the EMB theory the shift to an extreme male brain in people with autism is the result of elevated levels of prenatal testosterone (Auyeung et al., 2009). Taken together, the EMB theory states that people with autism have had elevated levels of prenatal testosterone leading to an extreme male brain with regard to their cognitive skills. Although this theory can explain a lot of the characteristics of autism, the disorder is still not completely understood. For this reason it would be interesting to see to what extent the ‘masculinisation’ introduced by the EMB theory is apparent in other domains next to cognition. In this study we choose to focus on gender role behaviour since this is also under the influence of prenatal testosterone and stands for fundamental male and female behaviours (Hines, 2006). Therefore it would be interesting to study in what way these evolutionary behaviours are different in people with autism. Gender role behaviour regards shared expectations of behaviour may differ by gender (Grumbach et al., 2003 and Stets and Burke, 2000). Men and women differ in certain behaviour domains like aggression, parenting rehearsal, and peer/group interaction. A typical gender role might include men who invest in the worker role and women who invest in the family role. Behavioural features matching with these gender roles are assertiveness, independence and self-confidence for ‘typical’ males and gentle, communicative and tactfulness for ‘typical’ females (Delfos, 2003 and Peterson and Dahlstrom, 1992). Determinants of gender role behaviour are thought to be both biological and social-cognitive (Hines, Brook, & Conway, 2004). Because autism is related to prenatal testosterone there is a focus on the role of androgens in psychosexual development. Information about the relationship between elevated rates of testosterone and the human gender roles has come from persons with an unusual hormonal environment, like persons with congenital adrenal hyperplasia, a congenital deficiency that may result in an overproduction of androgens, including testosterone (Pinel, 1999). Childhood play behaviour is a typical example of gender role behaviour which is often studied and can be used to examine the relationship between elevated prenatal testosterone levels and gender role behaviour. It appears that boys with congenital adrenal hyperplasia show decreased rough-and-tumble play compared to normal males (Hines & Kaufman, 1994). This led to the hypothesis that the effect of prenatal testosterone on play behaviour in boys may show an inverted-U relationship (Knickmeyer, Wheelwright, & Baron-Cohen, 2008). When girls are exposed to high levels of prenatal testosterone levels their childhood play behaviour changes to more typical boy behaviour. In case of girls with an ASC there would be a linear relationship between prenatal testosterone and masculinisation of play behaviour. We expect males with an ASC to show less male role behaviours and more female role behaviours as compared to controls due to the inverted-U relationship mentioned above. Females with an ASC are expected to show more male role behaviours and less female role behaviours as compared to controls. As far as we know, current research has yet to explore the gender role behaviour of persons with an ASC. The aim of the present study is to examine the gender role behaviour of adults with an ASC to see to what extent these gender roles are masculinised or feminised by their autistic condition. Since the sample of this study is relatively small, different diagnoses of an ASC were included. Two measures of the EMB theory were employed in order to confirm the theory: the Empathizing Quotient (EQ) (Baron-Cohen & Wheelwright, 2004) and the Systemizing Quotient (SQ) (Baron-Cohen, Richler, Bisarya, Gurunathan, & Wheelwright, 2003). Next to this, gender role behaviour was measured with the Gender-Masculine (GM) scale and the Gender-Feminine (GF) scale of the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory-2 (MMPI-2). The GM and GF scales measure stereotypically masculine and feminine occupations (Woo & Oei, 2008).