Toy story: Why do monkey and human males prefer trucks? Comment on "Sex differences in rhesus monkey toy preferences parallel those of children" by Hassett, Siebert and Wallen
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.Hormones and Behavior (Impact Factor: 4.63). 06/2008; 54(3):355-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2008.05.003
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Article: The child as social person[Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Questions about how children grow up in their social worlds are of enormous significance for parents, teachers, and society at large, as well as for children themselves. Clearly children are shaped by the social world that surrounds them but they also shape the social worlds that they, and those significant to them, encounter. But exactly how does this happen, and what can we do to ensure that it produces happy outcomes? This book provides a critical review of the psychological literature on the development of personality, social cognition, social skills, social relations and social outcomes from birth to early adulthood. It uses Bronfenbrenner's model of the development of the person and up-to-date evidence to analyse normal and abnormal social development, prosocial and antisocial behaviour, within and across cultures. As well as outlining the theory, the book addresses applied issues such as delinquency, school failure, and social exclusion. Using a coherent theoretical structure, The Child as Social Person examines material from across the biological and social sciences to present an integrated account of what we do and do not know about the development of the child as a social actor. The Child as Social Person provides an integrated overview of the exciting field of developmental social psychology, and as such will be essential reading for advanced undergraduate students in psychology, education and social work, as well as postgraduates and researchers in these disciplines.
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ABSTRACT: Identity, skills and creativity are created in interaction with the environment and are therefore influenced by the tools individuals have access too. Since working memory is flexible, we will investigate to what extent creative environment and problem solving tasks suited for girls and boys alike will affect working memory, thereby producing knowledge on how to design creative environments in order to achieve optimal and innovative learning processes. Visual artifacts, such as toys, pictures in schoolbooks and advertisements affect children emotionally, and are crucial as role models when forming identity. Identity and self-confidence are vital in learning processes. This paper elucidates the consequences of gender-segregated toys, advertisement of toys with gender specified target groups in relation to working memory, further interest and later choice of higher education and profession. It is common that children are forced into gender stereotypical games. We suggest that interest in engineering will rise if young children are stimulated to play and create their identity individually. This is a multidisciplinary research project and a unique collaboration in which we focus on different aspects of learning processes from a visual and gender study perspective, using a neurobiological point of departure.
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ABSTRACT: The theoretical debate over the relative contributions of nature and nurture to the sexual differentiation of behaviour has increasingly moved towards an interactionist explanation that requires both influences. In practice, however, nature and nurture have often been seen as separable, influencing human clinical sex assignment decisions, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Decisions about the sex assignment of children born with intersex conditions have been based almost exclusively on the appearance of the genitals and how other's reactions to the gender role of the assigned sex affect individual gender socialisation. Effects of the social environment and gender expectations in human cultures are ubiquitous, overshadowing the potential underlying biological contributions in favour of the more observable social influences. Recent work in nonhuman primates showing behavioural sex differences paralleling human sex differences, including toy preferences, suggests that less easily observed biological factors also influence behavioural sexual differentiation in both monkeys and humans. We review research, including Robert W. Goy's pioneering work with rhesus monkeys, which manipulated prenatal hormones at different gestation times and demonstrated that genital anatomy and specific behaviours are independently sexually differentiated. Such studies demonstrate that, for a variety of behaviours, including juvenile mounting and rough play, individuals can have the genitals of one sex but show the behaviour more typical of the other sex. We describe another case, infant distress vocalisations, where maternal responsiveness is best accounted for by the mother's response to the genital appearance of her offspring. Taken together, these studies demonstrate that sexual differentiation arises from complex interactions where anatomical and behavioural biases, produced by hormonal and other biological processes, are shaped by social experience into the behavioural sex differences that distinguish males and females.