SAGE Journal Articles

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Journal Article 1: Joel, D. (2016). VII. Captured in terminology: Sex, sex categories, and sex differences. Feminism & Psychology, 26(3), 335-345.

Abstract: Swayed by the clear distinction between male and female genitalia, the question of how far these categories extend into human biology has attracted humans for centuries. This question is sometimes being framed as whether the effects of sex are restricted to the genital organs or penetrate the entire organism. Here I argue that the two questions are not equivalent and that whereas the answer to the question, how far sex penetrates the body, is – deep down to the level of every cell, the answer to the question, how far the categories, “male” and “female”, do, is – probably nowhere beyond the genitals. That the two questions are often used interchangeably reflects the prevailing conceptualization of sex as a dichotomous system or process that exerts profound effects on other systems (e.g., the brain), leading to sexual dimorphism (i.e., two forms, male versus female) also of these systems. Here I discuss the question of whether the effects of sex result in dimorphic systems, focusing on the case of sex effects on the brain. I show that although there are sex/gender differences in brain and behavior, humans and human brains are comprised of highly variable “mosaics” of features, some more prevalent in females, others more prevalent in males.

JournalArticle 2: Geary, D. C. (2016). Evolution of sex differences in trait- and age-specific vulnerabilitiesPerspectives on Psychological Science, 11(6), 855-876.

Abstract: Traits that facilitate competition for reproductive resources or that influence mate choice generally have a heightened sensitivity to stressors. They have evolved to signal resilience to infectious disease and nutritional and social stressors, and they are compromised by exposure to man-made toxins. Although these traits can differ from one species or sex to the next, an understanding of the dynamics of competition and choice can in theory be used to generate a priori predictions about sex-, age-, and trait-specific vulnerabilities for any sexually reproducing species. I provide a review of these dynamics and illustrate associated vulnerabilities in nonhuman species. The age- and sex-specific vulnerability of such traits is then illustrated for stressor-related disruptions of boys’ and girls’ physical growth and play behavior, as well as for aspects of boys’ and girls’ and men’s and women’s personality, language, and spatial abilities. There is much that remains to be determined, but enough is now known to reframe trait sensitivity in ways that will allow scientists and practitioners to better identify and understand vulnerable human traits, and eventually ameliorate or prevent their expression

Journal Article 3: Tarampi, M. R., Heydari, N., & Hegarty, M. (2016). A tale of two types of perspective taking: Sex differences in spatial abilityPsychological Science, 27(11), 1507-1516.
doi: 10.1177/0956797616667459.

Abstract: Sex differences in favor of males have been documented in measures of spatial perspective taking. In this research, we examined whether social factors (i.e., stereotype threat and the inclusion of human figures in tasks) account for these differences. In Experiment 1, we evaluated performance when perspective-taking tests were framed as measuring either spatial or social (empathetic) perspective-taking abilities. In the spatial condition, tasks were framed as measures of spatial ability on which males have an advantage. In the social condition, modified tasks contained human figures and were framed as measures of empathy on which females have an advantage. Results showed a sex difference in favor of males in the spatial condition but not the social condition. Experiments 2 and 3 indicated that both stereotype threat and including human figures contributed to these effects. Results suggest that females may underperform on spatial tests in part because of negative performance expectations and the character of the spatial tests rather than because of actual lack of abilities.

Journal Article 4: Caldwell, H. K. (in press). Oxytocin and vasopressin: Powerful regulators of social behaviorNeuroscientist.
doi: 10.1177/1073858417708284.

Abstract: For many, the terms oxytocin and vasopressin immediately evoke images of animals interacting with one another, as both of these neuropeptides have been implicated as being part of the neurochemical “glue” that socially binds animals. However, social environments and social interactions are complex and include behaviors that bring animals together as well as behaviors that keep animals apart. It is at the intersection of social context, social experience, and an individual’s sex that oxytocin and vasopressin act to modulate social behavior and social cognition. In this review, this complexity will be explored across mammalian species, with a focus on social memory, cooperative behaviors, and competitive behaviors. Implications for humans as well as future directions will also be considered.