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Gender Development Research Centre


Prof Melissa Hines from the GDRC presented a seminar on 'Human gender development: some current perspectives' at the Department of Psychology, King's College, London on 14 May 2018.

Currently, developmental scientists conceptualize gender-related behaviours as developing under the influence of numerous types of factors, interacting over time. The factors that are important include chromosomal sex, early exposure to gonadal (sex) steroids, external socialization by parents, peers, teachers, and others, and self-socialization, based on children’s developing understanding of their own gender and of societal attitudes about gender.

Professor Hines' research focuses largely on the influence of the sex hormone, testosterone, during early development on later gender-related behaviour, and on how these hormonal influences might interact with other types of influences.

The hypothesis that early testosterone exposure is important for human gender development derives from thousands of experimental studies in other mammals showing that prenatal or neonatal testosterone concentrations influence behaviours that differ on the average for male and female animals later in life.

Evidence from people exposed to unusual concentrations of testosterone prenatally, because of genetic syndromes, suggests that early testosterone exposure also influences human gender development, particularly gender identity, sexual orientation, and childhood gender-typed play. Researchers have also tried to relate normal variability in the early hormone environment to later gender-related behaviour. Recent research suggests that measuring the early postnatal testosterone surge, sometimes referred to as mini-puberty, in typically developing children may provide a reliable approach that could be used to investigate how early hormone differences interact with social and cognitive processes to influence human gender development.

Latest news

Members of the GDRC attend workshop on 'Sex Differences, Dimorphisms and Divergences' in Erice, Sicily

10 June 2019

Prof Melissa Hines, Dr Debra Spencer, Prof Marcia Collaer and Dr Vickie Pasterski of the GDRC attended the workshop in May 2019, and Prof Hines gave a presentation on 'Human Gender Development'.

Ellen Robertson's talk at University of Marin Barleti, Albania

25 March 2019

Ellen Robertson gave a talk at the University of Marin Barleti, Albania, entitled 'Social Representations and the Sworn Virgins of Northern Albania', reflecting her PhD interests. More information on this topic can be found in a reference entry Ellen wrote for UCL's Encyclopedia of Informality.

Presentation by Ellen Robertson at Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network (CIPN)

15 November 2018

Ellen Robertson, PhD candidate in the GDRC, will be giving a seminar entitled 'Dressing the Self/Other in Greek Drama, Italian Opera and Rural Albania' as part of the Cambridge Interdisciplinary Performance Network (CIPN) Series (CIPN) fortnightly Tuesday seminar series on Tuesday 27 November 2018.

Welcome to Professor Marcia Collaer

6 November 2018

The GDRC is very pleased to welcome Prof Marcia Collaer to Cambridge! Marcia is Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Affiliate at Middlebury College, VT, USA. She is currently a Visiting Scholar in the GDRC, Department of Psychology and Overseas Fellow at Churchill College for 2018-19.

Group members at Gender Development Research Conference, San Francisco

1 November 2018

Prof Melissa Hines, Dr Debra Spencer and PhD candidate Marta Beneda went to the Gender Development Research Conference, San Francisco. This event is held every two years in San Francisco and hosts many of the world’s leading researchers of gender development from interdisciplinary fields. Prof Hines gave a talk and the group also presented two posters.