This article was written with the support of the Research and Awards Committee of Pitzer College. I am grateful for the support and help provided in connection with this project by Melissa Hines and Dawn Moore.
Special Section on Sex Differences in Early Infancy
Sex Differences in Normal Fetuses and Infants: A Commentary
Article first published online: 14 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Author. Child Development Perspectives © 2012 The Society for Research in Child Development
Child Development Perspectives
Volume 6, Issue 4, pages 414–416, December 2012
How to Cite
Moore, D. S. (2012), Sex Differences in Normal Fetuses and Infants: A Commentary. Child Development Perspectives, 6: 414–416. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-8606.2012.00258.x
- Issue published online: 14 NOV 2012
- Article first published online: 14 NOV 2012
- sex differences;
- prenatal testosterone;
- developmental systems
Sex differences in infants warrant attention, not because they clarify the extent to which such differences reflect nature or nurture, but because studying them is likely to illuminate the origins of sex differences later in life and thereby yield manipulations that could influence the development of important competences. It is not yet clear how male and female infants come to differ. Testosterone is influential, but because of the complexity of the developmental systems in which it operates, its effects are not straightforward: Testosterone does different things in different contexts. Simple explanations invoking hormone exposure should not be expected to satisfactorily answer questions about the origins of sex differences, but standardizing protocols to allow meaningful meta-analyses would help bring coherence to the research literature in this domain.