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Sorry for giving this such a vague title, as it is slightly difficult to explain.

The debate about differences in behaviour (say between the genders) is normally characterised as nature vs. nurture - that is some kind of physical difference in the structure or chemicals in someones brain vs. society teaching people to act in that way.

On the other hand, there is another explanation that could be important in certain circumstances and the best word that I can think to describe this is situational - that is that the two genders may be completely different situations.

Take for example the fact that it is harder for women to have children at an older age then it is for men. Let's suppose we observe a greater desire among women to settle down at any earlier age. As an alternative to the brain chemistry explanation or the social expectations, this difference in behaviour could also be explained as a "situational" difference - that is, the women are in a different situation then the men due to having a shorter period of time in which they can have children.

Is there a formal term for this kind of explanation?

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    $\begingroup$ I would personally just call that 'nature', but it seems a valid question! Perhaps people have tried to identify further subcategories. $\endgroup$ – Steven Jeuris Aug 11 '17 at 7:03
  • $\begingroup$ It's called a biological clock. This is a hypothetical of course, and therefore off topic, but a question about "if there were a law that said all men had to get a vasectomy at age 50, would that make them more eager to settle down?" could probe this issue. Even so, I would like to know the name (if any) for this type of issue (and "name" is a valid question.) $\endgroup$ – Tom Au Aug 12 '17 at 16:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Casebash The example that you have given seems to be completely off side from the explanation that you gave at the beginning of this question. I am really interested in answering this question as I think I have a good idea what you are talking about (excluding the example). This question has gone unanswered for a long time but if you are still interested in an answer, please could you explain further? $\endgroup$ – Zoe Howlett Feb 1 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ I agree with @StevenJeuris with this and say that it is nature which created the second situation you described. The first example definitely fits the nature vs nurture debate but for the second example, it will not matter how much nurturing you provide a girl/woman, it will be harder for them to bear children in later life. With settling down to have children at an earlier age, that is different to many others who choose to have a career first. It is down to personal choice and nothing to do with nature vs nurture. $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Feb 1 at 7:33

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