Verbal

Girls begin to speak earlier than boys and have larger vocabularies at each age (Maccoby, 1998). By the last year of high school, girls retain a slight advantage in grammatical and spelling skills (Hyde & Linn, 1988). Even as adults, women retain advantages over men in fluency (ability to produce words and sentences under particular constraints) and in speed of naming colors and forms (Kimura, 1996).

One of the most widely recognized and studied differences between the sexes in humans is that of aggression. Here, as in many other differences, we find a general pattern mediated by both genetics and acculturation, with some variation shaped by our evolutionary past (Low, 2000; R. L. Munroe, Hulefeld, Rodgers, Tomeo, & Yamazaki, 2000). Aggression, including warfare, male-male fighting, homicide, and even child abuse, appear to have evolutionary roots (Daly & Wilson, 1988). Cross-culturally, in many societies and through much of human evolutionary history, men have been able to make large direct reproductive gains through aggressive strategies in gaining resources; women's reproduction has typically been more limited by physiological and physical factors (Low, 2000). Perhaps as a result of this evolutionary ecological history, there are clear genetic contributions to aggressiveness, such as abnormalities in the gene encoding the neurotransmitter-metabolizing enzyme monoamine oxidase A (MAOA) (Brunner, 1996; Caspi, McClay, Moffitt, Mill, Martin et al., 2002). However, the costs and benefits of aggressive behavior are affected by societal norms, and there is cross-cultural variation in the degree to which males and females differ (Ember, 1981; Munroe et al., 2000). As we learn more about the genetic contributions to aggressiveness, we may also find cross-cultural variation in the equilibrium frequency of genes like MAOA.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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