Gender differences in personality: Biological and/or psychological?



The results of three empirical studies are reported in which the hypothesis is tested that differences in personality variables between the morphophenotype sexes can be explained by psychological sex-role orientation variables. Furthermore, it was expected that normative sex-role orientations (measured with the SRO-S and the AWS-S Scales) and gender-related self-concepts (femininity, masculinity, and androgyny measured with a modified BSRI) explain more variance in personality variables than morphophenotype sex. Besides these sex-role orientation variables, test and questionnaire data on verbal fluency, spatial reasoning, self-concept, anxiety, and aggressiveness were obtained in Study I from 50 young adults and their same-sex parents; in Study II, data on verbal fluency, spatial reasoning, self-concept, anxiety, and neuroticism were obtained from 120 university students; and in Study III, data on anxiety, locus of control, and Machiavellianism were obtained from 226 university students. The results confirm both hypotheses for the two aspects of intelligence studied, domain-specific self-concepts, different aspects of anxiety and aggressiveness, neuroticism, powerful others' externality in locus of control, and Machiavellianism. For all these personality variables the effect sizes of the psychological gender variables were larger than those of morphophenotype sex and reached medium to large values.