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ERIC Number: ED057904
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1971
Pages: 17
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: 0
Sex Stereotypic Behavior in Infants: An Analysis of Social-Interpersonal Relationships.
Lewis, Michael
This paper discusses the processes that are at work which produce some of the differences between male and female human beings. The sex of the child is an important attribute of the organism's identity. Before birth, parents express preferences for the sex of the unborn child and start providing names as a function of the sex of the child. Studies of fetal behavior indicate that if the fetus is active, the mother interpreted this as a sign that the child was more likely to be male than female. Before the child is born and after, the parents and community respond to that child in a sex differential fashion. Of concern here is in what way are these early sex differential parental behaviors transmitted to the child and what kinds of infant behaviors are a consequence of them? In the subsequent discussion in this paper, an attempt is made to demonstrate that in many aspects of the child's behavior there are early and profound differences in the infant's behavior as a function of its sex. For the first few months of life, boys receive more proximal behavior than do girls; however, by six months of age, this has reversed itself. By the end of the first year of life, girls touch and stay close to their mother significantly more than do boys. One method of socializing the young child is to turn the infant to a position facing away from and not touching the mother. The data indicated that in our society women have more freedom of action and more available choices in social interpersonal relationships. (CK)
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