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« It's Bush's Fault | Main | On The Road Again »

Just In Case There Was Any Doubt

Boy monkeys like toy cars, and girl monkeys like dolls.

So much for the blank slate.

And though I have no time to crack wise on this subject, I give you the Freepers:

Nancy Hopkins is hunched over the toilet as we speak. Could someone out there please be a dear, and hold her hair for her?
Posted by Rand Simberg at December 30, 2005 07:21 PM
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The article says divergence happened 25 million years ago, but I've always heard it was six. Sounds like a W.A.G. in either case to me (when they get to 4.5 billion I plan to sell!)

It does seem pretty obvious that the brain has both hard wiring and gender distinctions. It's interesting that monkeys and humans have such similar gender bias. I wonder if they can find the bias in creatures that are much more divergent (I'm thinking elephant or dolphin even, but you could go further.)

Another thing I find interesting is that researchers have shown that some females have 'male' brains while some males have 'female' brains in terms of specialization and communication between the hemispheres.

Posted by ken anthony at December 30, 2005 09:09 PM

After reading the article, I'm seriously gapping on something here.

First, I was a little dubious about the preference for toy cars because I can't imagine how anyone could have a "genetic" preference for playing with a model of an invention that's only about 100 years old. But, okay, I can see where it's not cars *specifically* but maybe just a general curiosity about things that move. So, I set that aside and I read that girl monkeys also show a preference for... cook pots?!?

So, umm... How the hell would a vervet monkey know what to do with a cook pot? why would a cook pot be anything but "gender neutral" for a monkey? How much cooking, exactly, do vervet monkeys do?

Posted by Mike Heinz at December 30, 2005 09:45 PM

My guess is that monkeys show the same preference to please researchers as kids do to please parents. Also, if they got nothing, this would end up in the file drawer.

Posted by Sam Dinkin at December 31, 2005 03:36 AM

I think your guess is wrong in both cases, Sam. Even parents who would have been pleased to have their boys play with dolls have been confounded by their desire to play with trucks. Many boys, given only dolls, will figure out a way to make play trucks or guns with them.

It really is hard wired.

Posted by Rand Simberg at December 31, 2005 06:44 AM

Um, y'all should realize that this research comes from Texas A&M University. I'm not sure that the results of some Aggie's research should be trusted too far.

Posted by Astrosmith at December 31, 2005 07:11 AM

No need to confuse chimps with monkeys, ken.
Funny how the nitwits in the gender scam industry keep trying to push water uphill.

Posted by Sam Thinkin at December 31, 2005 10:48 AM

That's it Sam. Thanks for clearing up the confusion. Chimps=6, Monks=25, x=100 and Adam never existed but Eve did (another point of confusion for me.)

Mike, a cook pot has human associations that wouldn't need to apply to a monkey for it to have it's own associations. But you're right, data can be skewed by the observers bias. Gender bias is pretty well established however (and it seems obvious that physical differences would likely include brain structure as well as the many other differences.)

Posted by ken anthony at December 31, 2005 05:16 PM

Anyone who honestly believes it's a blank slate has never had kids, or was hopelessly detached from said kids, or is a pathetic moron more interested in a cause than rationality.

Posted by Jay at December 31, 2005 10:05 PM

Which is not to say bias can't be inserted into research, speaking of causes. It's just that the research isn't needed. And I don't mean that in a gender bias way so much as in more generalized blank slate or not sort of way.

Posted by Jay at December 31, 2005 10:08 PM

Don't know about cars, but certain gorillas seem to like dolls (or something relatively doll-sized). But not planes. Or reptiles.

Posted by Alan K. Henderson at January 1, 2006 11:35 PM

Can't wait to see the monkey recipe book!

I know, I know, it's juvenile. But I'm still LOL about the idea of girl monkeys - any monkeys - knowing what to do with a cookpot. This is a hoax. (If the boy monkeys used the pots as drums, I might have believed it.)

I suspect that the experimenters coached the monkeys.

Posted by David Ross at January 2, 2006 10:02 PM

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