Cross cultural studies on gender role have helped psychologists understand whether gender is affected by the culture a person grows up in or if it is innate behaviours that occur in all humans.
There have been several different cross cultural research some suggesting social factors as an explanation for gender roles and others concluding biological factors. For example the research conducted by Williams and Best. They explored gender stereotypes with 2800 university students in 30 different nations as participants. They were each given a 300 item adjective checklist and then asked to decide whether they though it was most associated with males or females. The found that there was a broad consensus across countries where men were seen as more dominant and aggressive and women were seen as nurturant and deferent. This suggests that gender stereotypes are universal among the different nations that participate. This in turn helps to validate the theory that gender roles are biologically determined.
However there may be problems with generalising these results to the rest of the population. Although the sample was taken from a large geographical pool and should indicate representativeness, all of the participants were students. Students will share common attribute like age, intelligence and possibly class or economic status. This unfortunately means that the results of the study may not be representative to other social groups that were not in the study. In addition to this the checklist that the participants had to fill out did not include a ‘equal’ category for items which the students did not feel were either male or female. This means that the division between male and female categories may be exaggerated. If the results were exaggerated considerably then the true beliefs may not be significant.
On the other hand there are other studies that suggest a biological influence to gender roles. For example Buss (1989) studied over 10,000 participants from 37...