Sex differences in nonhuman primate behavioral development

J Neurosci Res. 2017 Jan 2;95(1-2):213-221. doi: 10.1002/jnr.23862.


Sex differences in behavior and developmental trajectories in human children are of great interest to researchers in a variety of fields, and a persistent topic of discussion and debate is the relative contribution of biological vs. social influences to such differences. Given the potentially large effects of cultural and social influences on human child development, nonhuman primates are important model species for investigating the biological and evolutionary roots of sex differences in human development. This Mini-Review briefly summarizes the existing literature on sex-biased behavior toward infant nonhuman primates by mothers and other social partners, followed by a review of findings on sex differences (or lack thereof) in primate behavioral development from a variety of species in wild and naturalistic settings. These include differences in physical and social development, including play, grooming, and object manipulation patterns, as well as nursing and the development of foraging behavior. The Mini-Review concludes by providing potential avenues for future research. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: behavior; development; primates; sex differences.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Primates
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Social Behavior*