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Gender – Psychological Theories

4. Psychoanalytic Theory

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think the influence of psychoanalytic theory on the psychology of gender, focusing in particular on: (i) Freud’s broader influence on the field of psychology – a particular conception of the unconscious, the concept of talking therapy, and a range of now-familiar concepts, e.g. the ego, id and superego, the Oedipus Complex, etc.; (ii) the extent to which Freud’s ideas were incorporated into scientific psychology, e.g. the frustration/aggression hypothesis; (iii) two of Freud’s more famous theories – the Oedipus Complex and the concept of ‘penis envy’; (iv) Karen Horney’s (1885-1952) criticism of Freud’s theory, and her concept of ‘womb envy’; and (v) the extent to which Freud’s work was rejected (in North America) and tentatively embraced (in the UK) by feminist psychologists in the 1970s.


In this course, Professor Peter Hegarty (University of Surrey) explores the psychology of gender. In the first lecture, we think about different ways of measuring one’s psychological gender, focusing in particular on the most widely used system, the Bem Sex-Role Inventory (BRSI). In the second lecture, we think about the history of sex and gender as distinct concepts. In the third, fourth and fifth lectures, we consider how three psychological theories have intersected with the psychology of gender – cognitive psychology, psychoanalytic theory, and social learning theory. In the sixth and final module, we think about the extent to which the psychology of gender has accommodated the experience of those who identify as transgender or nonbinary, and how the psychology of gender might evolve in the future.


Peter Hegarty is Professor of Psychology at the University of Surrey. His research focuses on the intersection of social psychology, history, and gender and sexuality studies. Professor Hegarty's two sole-authored books on the history of psychology are about early twentieth-century entanglements between sexology, intelligence testing, and masculinity, and psychology’s more recent relationships with lesbian and gay movements. Some of Professor Hegarty's recent publications include 'Public understanding of intersex: an update on recent findings' (2022) and 'Between cultural relativism and liberal ethnocentrism: What does Audi Arabia tell us about cultural variation in moral identity and prejudice?' (2021).

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hegarty, P. (2021, January 07). Gender – Psychological Theories - Psychoanalytic Theory [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hegarty, P. "Gender – Psychological Theories – Psychoanalytic Theory." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Jan 2021,

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