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How else can we study sex differences in early infancy?

Authors
  • Fausto-Sterling, Anne1
  • 1 Department of Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Biochemistry, Brown University, Providence, RI, 02912. [email protected]
Type
Published Article
Journal
Developmental Psychobiology
Publisher
Wiley (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
January 2016
Volume
58
Issue
1
Pages
5–16
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/dev.21345
PMID: 26284576
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

This paper revisits group difference and individual variability in birth weight, head size, Apgar score, and motor performance in neonatal and 8-month-old males and females using a large existing data set. The goal is primarily theoretical--to reframe existing analyses with an eye toward designing and executing more predictive analyses in the future. 3D graphing to visualize both the areas of overlap and regions of disparity between boys and girls has been used. A two-step cluster analysis of boys and girls together revealed three clusters. One was almost equally divided between boys and girls, but a second was highly enriched for boys and the third highly skewed toward girls. The relationship between cluster membership and Bayley motor scores at 8 months tested the hypothesis that initial differences that have no sex-related behavioral content might start processes that produce later sex-related differences. Initially, parental belief systems may be less important than infant care patterns evoked by basic size and health characteristics, even though later parental behaviors assume a decidedly gendered pattern.

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