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Are we really much different from our pets?
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rmsusa


Mar 23, 2013, 11:06 AM
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Are we really much different from our pets?
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I post this here because it's relevant to a discussion some months ago about sex linked behavior that generated some interesting ideas. I even read a book on the suggestion of one of the participants. I've become more and more convinced, over the years, that much of what we regard as culturally specific behavior is really hard-wired and "instinctive". Enjoy:

http://www.youmeworks.com/what_dif1.html


dr_feelgood


Mar 23, 2013, 11:49 AM
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Re: [rmsusa] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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rmsusa wrote:
I post this here because it's relevant to a discussion some months ago about sex linked behavior that generated some interesting ideas. I even read a book on the suggestion of one of the participants. I've become more and more convinced, over the years, that much of what we regard as culturally specific behavior is really hard-wired and "instinctive". Enjoy:

http://www.youmeworks.com/what_dif1.html
Yesterday, my male dog spent ten minutes humping the shit out of another male dog.
Does that make me gay?


scrapedape


Mar 24, 2013, 8:46 AM
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Re: [dr_feelgood] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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dr_feelgood wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
I post this here because it's relevant to a discussion some months ago about sex linked behavior that generated some interesting ideas. I even read a book on the suggestion of one of the participants. I've become more and more convinced, over the years, that much of what we regard as culturally specific behavior is really hard-wired and "instinctive". Enjoy:

http://www.youmeworks.com/what_dif1.html
Yesterday, my male dog spent ten minutes humping the shit out of another male dog.
Does that make me gay?

No, but the fact that you watched for 10 minutes suggests that you might be into bestiality.


lena_chita
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Apr 1, 2013, 6:03 PM
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Re: [rmsusa] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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rmsusa wrote:
I post this here because it's relevant to a discussion some months ago about sex linked behavior that generated some interesting ideas. I even read a book on the suggestion of one of the participants. I've become more and more convinced, over the years, that much of what we regard as culturally specific behavior is really hard-wired and "instinctive". Enjoy:

http://www.youmeworks.com/what_dif1.html

Interesting read.

But I don't think anybody holds to the purely-socialization theory. It is pretty obvious to me that we are a product of BOTH genetic and cultural influences.

Teasing out one vs. the other is not easy.

For example, the author of this article says that
In reply to:
Some of the earliest sex-difference studies showed that men are better at hitting targets with projectiles than women. And in all the research since then, this has been one of the most consistent findings.

I do not see the references for the actual study, but my first response is, well, how old where the subjects and where did they come from? Because boys do get more practice and more encouragement in throwing things at targets than girls do. And in these sorts of things, practice makes perfect.

But, if you were to take male Olympic archers and female Olympic archers, for example, is it really true that men would be better at hitting targets than women? How about biathlon -- are men better at shooting at the target? How about tennis players asked to hit the ball into a specific corner of the court? Would men's hits form a tighter pattern? I would really like to know!

And the other thing, the author does point out that
In reply to:
Keep in mind that these are all averages. Individuals vary wildly.

But what gets lost in comparing the "averages" is how small the differences between the two medians really are, compared to how wide the standard deviation interval is.

Yet he then goes on to say that these generalizations actually apply to "your relationships with your partner". And that's where I get really bristly. Because as soon as you step away from populations and group medians you are back to those individual differences that can go any which way.

My boyfriend notices minute specs of dust and water stains on dishes that simply don't register in my attention zone, for example. So much for females paying more attention to details... and I consider myself fairly detail oriented.

His handwriting is WAY prettier than mine would ever be. So much for "you can tell a womanís handwriting from a manís because her's shows more control". I make moderately-decipherable scratchings. He might as well be a calligrapher. Guess who is asked to write something when it would be nice to have things written nicely and prettily?

Yes, he happens to be taller than me, and has lower body fat percentage than I do. Biology, sure! But really, pick any trait you want, pick the generalization of which way it is supposed to go, according to this article, and it is just as likely to go the other way between the two of us.


notapplicable


Apr 1, 2013, 8:45 PM
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Re: [scrapedape] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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scrapedape wrote:
dr_feelgood wrote:
rmsusa wrote:
I post this here because it's relevant to a discussion some months ago about sex linked behavior that generated some interesting ideas. I even read a book on the suggestion of one of the participants. I've become more and more convinced, over the years, that much of what we regard as culturally specific behavior is really hard-wired and "instinctive". Enjoy:

http://www.youmeworks.com/what_dif1.html
Yesterday, my male dog spent ten minutes humping the shit out of another male dog.
Does that make me gay?

No, but the fact that you watched for 10 minutes suggests that you might be into bestiality.

Old news is not news.


Partner cracklover


Apr 3, 2013, 8:47 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
But really, pick any trait you want, pick the generalization of which way it is supposed to go, according to this article, and it is just as statistically slightly less likely to go the other way between the two of us.

Fixied.

GO


rmsusa


Apr 3, 2013, 3:16 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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In reply to:
But what gets lost in comparing the "averages" is how small the differences between the two medians really are, compared to how wide the standard deviation interval is.

That would be a really interesting research topic for a lot of behavioral traits. What, exactly, are the numbers? Do we know them for, just to be really ridiculous, the number of shoes in the closet.


scrapedape


Apr 3, 2013, 4:06 PM
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Re: [rmsusa] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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Fortunately these questions are subject to open debate and fair consideration at our most elite institutions of learning and research.

Oh, wait...


lena_chita
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Apr 4, 2013, 5:59 AM
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Re: [rmsusa] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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rmsusa wrote:
In reply to:
But what gets lost in comparing the "averages" is how small the differences between the two medians really are, compared to how wide the standard deviation interval is.

That would be a really interesting research topic for a lot of behavioral traits. What, exactly, are the numbers? Do we know them for, just to be really ridiculous, the number of shoes in the closet.

I don't know. But are you suggesting that number of shoes (with females, of course, having way more pairs) is a genetically hardwired trait?

Bc i would argue that it has a lot more to do with societal expectations of how we should dress, than with any genetics.

And then, of course, some women just like to collect them... in the same way that guys like to collect... I don't know... ties? Some guys have very extensive collection of very expensive ties.


rmsusa


Apr 4, 2013, 9:18 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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"I don't know. But are you suggesting that number of shoes (with females, of course, having way more pairs) is a genetically hardwired trait?

Bc i would argue that it has a lot more to do with societal expectations of how we should dress, than with any genetics."

So I said I was being a bit ridiculous. I don't know any more than you do where the nature/nurture line lies. I won't argue pure nature or pure nurture either. Seems like I fall more on the nature side than you do. I'll take the shoe thing as a sexual display that's a genetic compulsion, whose particular form is determined by local network behavior (culture).

It seems pretty clear that there are gender-linked differences that manifest themselves in behavior. What's that whole make-up thing about, anyway?

So how much do we actually know about means and deviations for behaviors that are stereotypically taken to be sex-linked characteristics? Is there a whole body of study out there? We certainly have a huge amount of popular literature about how genders differ in behavior. Is there nothing behind any of it?

At this point, I think the discussion is about beliefs.


lena_chita
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Apr 4, 2013, 10:07 AM
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Re: [rmsusa] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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rmsusa wrote:
lena-chita wrote:
I don't know. But are you suggesting that number of shoes (with females, of course, having way more pairs) is a genetically hardwired trait?

Bc i would argue that it has a lot more to do with societal expectations of how we should dress, than with any genetics.

So I said I was being a bit ridiculous. I don't know any more than you do where the nature/nurture line lies. I won't argue pure nature or pure nurture either. Seems like I fall more on the nature side than you do. I'll take the shoe thing as a sexual display that's a genetic compulsion, whose particular form is determined by local network behavior (culture).

If this were the case, why is it that in a LOT of species that exhibit sexual dimorphism the male of the species are usually the flashier ones, not the females?

And also, why did you decide to pick shoes as an example, but not the ties? (equally superfluous and ridiculous, but male-applicable)

rmsusa wrote:
It seems pretty clear that there are gender-linked differences that manifest themselves in behavior. What's that whole make-up thing about, anyway?

Yes. there are gender-linked differences that manifest themselves in behavior, but make-up? I would pick THAT as a great example of cultural influence, and not at all biology.

Make-up being women-specific thing is clearly a Western thing. In many other cultures males are the ones who decorate themselves in various facial paints, tattoos, jewelry, etc.

How is this gender-linked and biologically-determined?

rmsusa wrote:
So how much do we actually know about means and deviations for behaviors that are stereotypically taken to be sex-linked characteristics? Is there a whole body of study out there? We certainly have a huge amount of popular literature about how genders differ in behavior. Is there nothing behind any of it?

At this point, I think the discussion is about beliefs.

I do not know enough to answer this with science, but here is an interesting blog post that popped up in my facebook feed this morning.

Very applicable to these questions, IMO.http://disruptingdinnerparties.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/gender-bias-in-science-part-ii-the-ideas-that-chain-us/[/quote]


Partner cracklover


Apr 4, 2013, 10:51 AM
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Re: [lena_chita] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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lena_chita wrote:
If this were the case, why is it that in a LOT of species that exhibit sexual dimorphism the male of the species are usually the flashier ones, not the females?

Now we're getting into an area where there is actually a fair bit of real science. This is the field of evolutionary biology/sociology. It's a really cool field - one I actually know very little about, but is always fascinating to read up on.

The gist of it is that there is a complex interplay between the niche which you as a species occupy, your physical morphology/sexuality, and your social behavior. All three can be drivers that can force changes in the others.

For example, in mammals, sexual dimorphism (a difference in size between the genders) is most pronounced in polygynous species - ones with harem-style society. In the elephant seal, where the males are commonly four times the size of the females, it makes sense to produce male offspring who will be enormous, with huge tusks, and an aggressive personality, so they can fight off the other males and rule a big harem, since a tiny percent of the males rule harems that produce all the offspring. On the other hand, species where the sexes average the same size tend to be monogamous or generally promiscuous. Among mammals, humans have only a small, but an undeniable dimorphism. Make of that what you will.

GO


lena_chita
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Apr 4, 2013, 11:18 AM
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Re: [cracklover] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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cracklover wrote:
lena_chita wrote:
If this were the case, why is it that in a LOT of species that exhibit sexual dimorphism the male of the species are usually the flashier ones, not the females?

Now we're getting into an area where there is actually a fair bit of real science. This is the field of evolutionary biology/sociology. It's a really cool field - one I actually know very little about, but is always fascinating to read up on.

The gist of it is that there is a complex interplay between the niche which you as a species occupy, your physical morphology/sexuality, and your social behavior. All three can be drivers that can force changes in the others.

For example, in mammals, sexual dimorphism (a difference in size between the genders) is most pronounced in polygynous species - ones with harem-style society. In the elephant seal, where the males are commonly four times the size of the females, it makes sense to produce male offspring who will be enormous, with huge tusks, and an aggressive personality, so they can fight off the other males and rule a big harem, since a tiny percent of the males rule harems that produce all the offspring. On the other hand, species where the sexes average the same size tend to be monogamous or generally promiscuous. Among mammals, humans have only a small, but an undeniable dimorphism. Make of that what you will.

GO

You made my point exactly-- there is nothing that is PREDOMINANTLY BIOLOGICAL in nature that explains why women in Western culture have more shoes than men, or wear makeup, or whatever.

In some species the males are dramatically bigger, in some species males are dramatically flashier, in some species the difference are small. Humans happen to be one of the latter.

No biology determines that women like jewelry, or makeup, or dresses, or shoes, because you can just as easily pick a society there males are the one wearing jewelry, males are the ones painting their faces, or males are the ones who wear bright jewel-colored clothing.

While i do not deny that there are many things that are determined by our hormones using the purely human-choice culturally-determined things such as clothing, makeup, or jewelry choices as evidence of biologically-hardwired differences is not justified.


rmsusa


Apr 5, 2013, 4:15 PM
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Re: [lena_chita] Are we really much different from our pets? [In reply to]
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"If this were the case, why is it that in a LOT of species that exhibit sexual dimorphism the male of the species are usually the flashier ones, not the females? "

I'm sorry if I haven't explained myself well enough. I have a day job that requires a lot and there's only limited time.

So about the birds, etc.: That's entirely true, but aren't we talking about the human species? The genetic compulsion is still display, it's just performed by males of those species. I've seen suggestions that in species where the male is homogametic, they display. In humans, the female is homogametic. I don't know enough to know if this is true.

With humans, the female displays, and she does it with enhancements like clothing and paint, long hair and surgery, by loving to dance, even if she does it alone and by loving to display herself without clothing, which human males love to look at (doh).

I picked shoes because I'm a guy and I think about the opposite sex more than my own. Ties are worn by a subset of men in a few cultures. Shoes are worn by everyone.

I think (YMMV) that that genetically determined behaviors express themselves through culturally determined mechanisms. Culture is malleable. It changes quickly, it's a network behavior, so the manifestation of the behavior change with culture.

In Japan it was foot binding for a while, Here in South Florida, it seems like really high heels and tight clothing are the rage. Big boobs are popular with Venezuelan women (because they're popular with Venezuelan men). So my point is, only, that in the human species, female display seems to me to be a genetic compulsion ... and .... that there are others.

So I think it's got to be possible to talk about gender linked behaviors at a level that doesn't depend on cultural manifestations. How do we do that? I'm using display to try and get at a concept that transcends culturally specific behaviors. Can "nurturing behavior" be a differentiator? Can "sociability" (for lack of a better word) be a differentiator? The only way to illustrate differences seems to be through their cultural manifestations.

We can certainly allow for exceptions, but really, how far apart are the means, in terms of standard deviations? What are those things that travel along with XX and XY that we really don't have much control over?

So point me to an example of behavior that you believe to be gender linked in the sense that the means are farther apart than (say) 1.5 standard deviations. Do you believe there are none?


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