These lectures address diverse topics within bioethics and the medical humanities. Speakers are MH&B faculty or special guests we've invited to present. The lectures run every Thursday from noon to 12:45pm in the Searle Seminar Room in the Lurie building, during The Graduate School's fall, winter, and spring quarters. Due to public interest, we've made these lectures open to all, inside and outside the Northwestern community. Please feel free to bring a lunch.
Paul Vasey, PhD
Department of Psychology
University of Lethbridge
Is Separation Anxiety in Feminine Boys Pathological or Socially Beneficial?:
Cross-cultural Insights from Canada and Samoa
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Previous research has found that boys who exhibit Gender Identity Disorder in Children (GIDC) also commonly exhibit elevated traits of childhood separation anxiety. I discuss my cross-cultural, non-clinical research that suggests elevated traits of childhood separation anxiety is simply a component of the more general pattern of femininity exhibited by pre-homosexual males. Whereas clinical perspectives have tended to characterize the co-occurrence of femininity and elevated childhood separation anxiety as psychopathological, I propose an alternate perspective that views this co-occurrence as having a prosocial (i.e., socially beneficial) basis. Specifically, I argue that elevated childhood separation anxiety is a developmental precursor of cognitive biases that evolved to facilitate increased kin-directed altruism in homosexual males. Data collected in Canada and Samoa are presented in support of these claims.