The end remains in the hand of the puller

Posted by – March 31, 2009

Some time ago I linked to a contentious blog post hosted by Psychology Today regarding height, intelligence and sex. The blogger in question, The Scientific Fundamentalist, seems to like hate mail: here’s another one about the possible innateness of strictly mental sex differences.

Alexander and Hines gave two stereotypically masculine toys (a ball and a police car), two stereotypically feminine toys (a soft doll and a cooking pot), and two neutral toys (a picture book and a stuffed dog) to 44 male and 44 female vervet monkeys. They then assessed the monkeys’ preference for each toy by measuring how much time they spent with each. Their data demonstrated that male vervet monkeys showed significantly greater interest in the masculine toys, and the female vervet monkeys showed significantly greater interest in the feminine toys. The two sexes did not differ in their preference for the neutral toys.

I mentioned a theory about the biology of homosexuality I’d heard about to my sister the biologist a while ago (she was very sceptical). It seems pretty crazy to me too, but I’m still interested because I don’t know of any really satisfying way to explain homosexuality. The basic idea is that a part of homosexuality could be explained by the (surprisingly common) chimerism between mothers and fetuses & multiple fetuses of which some often terminate before birth.

A fun visualisation of the languages people consider incomprehensible, as in “that’s Greek to me” or “täyttä hepreaa”.

For programmers: if you have people telling you whether they like something, what’s the best way to measure overall likedness? Apparently it’s the lower bound of the Wilson score confidence interval for a Bernoulli parameter.

0 Comments on The end remains in the hand of the puller

Respond | Trackback