Experience-independent sex differences in newborn macaques: females are more social than males

Simpson, E.A., Nicolini, Y., Shetler, M., Suomi, S.J., Ferrari, P.F. and Paukner, A. ORCID: 0000-0002-3421-1864, 2016. Experience-independent sex differences in newborn macaques: females are more social than males. Scientific Reports, 6 (1): 19669. ISSN 2045-2322

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Abstract

Human females exhibit greater social interest and skills relative to males, appearing in infancy, suggesting biological roots; however, male and female infants may be treated differently, potentially causing or amplifying sex differences. Here, we tested whether sex differences in social motivation emerge in infant monkeys (n = 48) reared in a controlled postnatal environment. Compared to males, females at 2–3 weeks looked more at conspecifics’ faces (d = 0.65), especially the eyes (d = 1.09), and at 4–5 weeks exhibited more affiliative behaviors (d = 0.64), including gesturing, looking, and proximity to familiar and unfamiliar human caretakers. In sum, converging evidence from humans and monkeys suggests that female infants are more social than males in the first weeks of life, and that such differences may arise independent of postnatal experience. Individual differences in social interest have wide-ranging developmental consequences, impacting infants’ social interaction quality and opportunities for learning. Understanding the evolution of sex differences and their developmental emergence is necessary to best support infants with varying levels of sociality.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Scientific Reports
Creators: Simpson, E.A., Nicolini, Y., Shetler, M., Suomi, S.J., Ferrari, P.F. and Paukner, A.
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group
Date: 22 February 2016
Volume: 6
Number: 1
ISSN: 2045-2322
Identifiers:
NumberType
10.1038/srep19669DOI
BFsrep19669Publisher Item Identifier
Rights: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in the credit line; if the material is not included under the Creative Commons license, users will need to obtain permission from the license holder to reproduce the material. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 24 Jan 2019 16:46
Last Modified: 24 Jan 2019 16:46
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/35681

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