"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Monday, December 28, 2009

"A desk is a dangerous place from which to watch the world." - John le Carre

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More on monkey patriarchy:


Yerkes Researchers Find Sex Differences in Monkey Toy Preferences Similar to Humans

Researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Emory University, have found rhesus monkeys' gender-specific toy preferences directly parallel the preferences human children have, suggesting preferences can develop without socialization factors, such as encouragement from family and friends to play with gender-specific toys. The study, now available in the online edition of Hormones and Behavior, proposes sex differences in toy preferences reflect hormonally influenced behavioral and cognitive biases.

Yerkes lead researcher Janice Hassett said, "Sex differences in human toy preferences are often thought to occur primarily through socialization influences, such as parents encouraging sons to play with cars and trucks and daughters to play with dolls and stuffed animals. If, however, preferences for gender specific toys exist in other species, then nonsocial factors also may play a role in preference."

Yerkes researchers compared the interactions of 11 male and 23 female rhesus macaques with human wheeled toys (masculine) and plush toys (feminine). Like young boys, male monkeys strongly preferred wheeled toys, while female monkeys, similar to young girls, played more equally with both types of toys. "Young girls show a broader range of play patterns than boys, playing with many different kinds of toys," said Hassett. "We found this to be true with the female monkeys as well. This suggests that rather than specific socialization determining toy preferences, it's more likely biases in preferences that exist at birth" continued Hassett.

"We were quite surprised by how closely the preferences of male and female monkeys for human gender-stereotyped toys paralleled those reported in children," said Kim Wallen, PhD, study co-author. "Because monkeys are not subjected to advertisements, or to criticism for toy choice, this suggests the monkeys choose the toys on the basis of the activities the toys encourage. Thus, differences in activity preference vary between males and females," Wallen summarized.

These results may be applied to other sex differences. Hassett offered, "Traditional thinking is sex differences, such as career choice and performance on specific types of cognitive tests, are a result of socialization -- labeling professions as masculine or feminine and teaching boys and girls differently. While this almost certainly occurs, it is possible our early preferences shape our environment such that later in life men and women seek different activities and ways of spending time and resources."


Vervet monkeys also have human-gender-typical toy preferences.

Fetal testosterone also Predicts Sexually Differentiated Childhood Behavior in Girls and in Boys (i.e. there is "a link between fetal testosterone and the development of sex-typical play in children")
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