Sex Roles

, Volume 55, Issue 9–10, pp 589–600 | Cite as

Biased-Interaction Theory of Psychosexual Development: “How Does One Know if One is Male or Female?”

  • Milton DiamondEmail author
Original Article


A theory of gender development is presented that incorporates early biological factors that organize predispositions in temperament and attitudes. With activation of these factors a person interacts in society and comes to identify as male or female. The predispositions establish preferences and aversions the growing child compares with those of others. All individuals compare themselves with others deciding who they are like (same) and with whom are they different. These experiences and interpretations can then be said to determine how one comes to identify as male or female, man or woman. In retrospect, one can say the person has a gendered brain since it is the brain that structures the individual’s basic personality; first with inherent tendencies then with interactions coming from experience.


Psychosexual development Gender development Genetic-endocrine interactions Gender comparisons Role models Prenatal influences Organizing factor Activating factors Gender identity Sexual identity Masculinity Male Femininity Female 



Support for this work has come from the Eugene Garfield Foundation of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Anatomy, Biochemistry and Physiology, Pacific Center for Sex and SocietyUniversity of Hawaii, John A. Burns School of MedicineHonoluluUSA

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