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Toy story: En vetenskaplig kritik av forskningom apors leksakspreferenser
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Centre for Gender Research.
2009 (Swedish)In: Tidskrift för genusvetenskap, ISSN 1654-5443, no 1, 45-63 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Biological sex differences have long been used as argumentsjustifying male dominance and sexist oppression. Animal studies ofsex differences are used to claim that human sex roles have a longevolutionary history. For example, in a study of toy preferences invervet monkeys, the authors conclude that sex-differentiatedobject preferences arose early in human evolution. In this paper Iscrutinize the study and reveal that both the hypotheses, theperformed preference tests and the conclusions drawn are flawed.In the study, the authors hypothesise that male vervets shouldprefer a ball and a car based on the human hunter-gathererhypothesis. Men are suggested to be selected for navigatingabilities useful for hunting and women for nurturing babies. Thishypothesis is then transferred to vervets which is a tree-livingspecies, subsisting of a mainly vegetarian diet, where skills such asnavigating in space ought to be necessary for survival - in bothmales and females. Furthermore, the presentation of toys isconducted in groups, individual interactions with a toy is taken as apreference for the sex of that individual. Therefore it is impossibleto derive individual preferences from these tests. Vervets arematrilinear with females sometimes being dominant to males. Froman animal behaviour framework, I would interpret the preferencesas an interaction between individuals. Perhaps low-rankedindividuals approach new objects first, as they may be dangerous.The results are interpreted and presented with graphs and picturesin order to tell the convincing story about sex differences in toypreference that the authors wanted to find, but there is no support tfor these conclusions.Hence, from the evidence presented in this study, we cannotconclude that human sex-differentiated toy preferences date morethan 23 million years back in time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. no 1, 45-63 p.
Keyword [en]
Toy preference, sex differences, human evolution
National Category
Gender Studies
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-138902OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-138902DiVA: diva2:380212
Available from: 2010-12-20 Created: 2010-12-20 Last updated: 2011-01-25Bibliographically approved

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