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2. Sex and Gender

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In this module, we think about the history of sex and gender as distinct concepts, focusing in particular on: (i) where psychologists get their words from – either repurposing an existing word (e.g. memory) or creating a new one (e.g. schizophrenia); (ii) the use of ‘gender’ prior to its use in psychology from the 1950s onwards; (iii) the importance of the work of John Money in distinguishing between sex as a biological category and gender a social, cultural, behavioural one; and (iv) criticisms of Money’s work on gender identity.


In this course, Professor Peter Hegarty (University of Surrey) explores the psychology of gender. In the first module, 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). After that, we think about the history of sex and gender as distinct concepts, before turning in the following three modules to consider how three psychological theories have intersected with the psychology of gender – cognitive psychology, psychoanalytic theory, and social learning theory. Finally, in the sixth 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. His 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.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Hegarty, P. (2021, January 07). Gender - Sex and Gender [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Hegarty, Peter. "Gender – Sex and Gender." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 07 Jan 2021,

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