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Sex Differences in Preschool Children’s Social Interactions and Use of Space: An Evolutionary Perspective

  • Lawrence V. Harper
  • Karen M. Sanders

Abstract

Although the bases for anatomical and physiological gender dimorphisms in man are fairly well understood (Tanner, 1970), the origins of behavioral sex differences are the subject of vigorous debate (cf. Birns, 1976; Hutt, 1972). Many of the disagreements appear to revolve about the relative contributions of organismic as opposed to environmental determinants of sex-typed activities. It seems to be all too easy to fall into the old trap of characterizing sex differences as due to either “nature” or “nurture,” rather than as the coaction of both. In these debates, there is a tendency to lose sight of the facts that the differences under consideration are matters of degree rather than kind, and that there is no a priori reason to expect that all of them result from the same causes. Analysis of the problem is further hampered by uncertainties concerning the empirical demonstrability of a number of alleged sex differences. In some cases, the dimensions of comparison, such as “dependence-independence” or “person versus object orientation” seem to be too broad and ill-defined to permit unequivocal demonstrations of gender differences (cf. Maccoby and Jacklin, 1974). In other comparisons, as with “timidity” or “aggressiveness,” it is also unclear whether the research findings reflect the methods used to obtain them rather than actual differences in behavior.

Keywords

Child Development Outdoor Activity Outdoor Play Interactive Play Spotted Hyena 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lawrence V. Harper
    • 1
  • Karen M. Sanders
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Behavioral SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaDavisUSA

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