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Why is the Vervet monkey study "really dumb?"

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If you're wondering why it's a study on monkeys and not humans, and why I chose that one in particular, it's because there is no way to definitively rule out the possible effect of societal influence among children old enough to even have toy preferences, as studies in those cases also show that little girls prefer dolls, but in those events, how can we know if that is not a result of preconceived notions?

Monkeys don't have preconceived notions about gender. And that's why I must ask: in what way is that peer-reviewed study "dumb?"

Parogar (talk)18:25, 11 November 2014

I suggest looking at the external link that Nebuchadnezzar left at the end of the post. Here it is again, for your convenience:

ZooGuard (talk)19:11, 11 November 2014

Okay, I read through the blog post, but I'm still not seeing it. She doesn't refute (at all) the findings of the study. Rather she deflects and tries to associate it with something else, then associate THAT with something else, until she's going on at great length about object-oriented vs. person-oriented. But at no point does she make any argument that suggests the findings in the study were wrong or inaccurate.

Parogar (talk)19:24, 11 November 2014

True, she doesn't negate the vervet study. She does minimize it by pointing out how the actual differences in behavior were relatively small. In medical research (my area), that'd be statistical significance combined with clinical irrelevance. The findings may be right, but they're small.

MarmotHead (talk)20:09, 11 November 2014

She also points out that using human toys in a monkey study is ridiculous. A red frying pan is apparently a girl's toy, but how can that possibly apply to a species that has no concept of cooking. The same goes for the toy truck in a species that I would imagine would have trouble recognizing the connection between a tiny toy and an actual vehicle. Further, there are problems in comparing gender roles in primates as they vary wildly from species to species.

Marlow (talk)20:53, 11 November 2014

I understand that, Marlow, but the reason why she's using monkeys is at all is because any time humans are used, regardless of age, we can't rule out the possibility that, even at such a young age, there could be a preconceived bias from observations in society. The real problem with this kind of study at all is that it's impossible to do any kind of double-blind study involving humans. Primates are all we have.

Parogar (talk)06:27, 12 November 2014

1, Why use vervets rather than chimps or bonobos which are phylogenetically closer to us? 2, It's still meaningless. Vervets have no concept of cooking or fire trucks.

Nebuchadnezzar (talk)03:56, 9 December 2014


What does she mean when she's talking about object-oriented behavior? I know object-oriented programming as in the computer science stuff, but a lot of the points she's making refers to subjects that are less in the 'hard' sciences and more in the social sciences, which I'm not really all that well versed in.

Parogar (talk)06:29, 12 November 2014

I'm not certain what she means by object, but I think it's the opposite of animate which I think refers to people/animal like. A dump truck is an object. A doll is animate. Thomas the Tank Engine is a confusing mix of the two.

MarmotHead (talk)18:46, 12 November 2014

Clearly you never made up a name and personality for your bicycle when you were a child.

Star of David.png Radioactive afikomen Please ignore all my awful pre-2014 comments.19:51, 19 November 2014

Oh it had a personality (Thorn Crusher), but I couldn't come up with a name. Bicycle genders are so hard to figure out and I, at the time, knew nothing about non-binary genders. MarmotHead (talk) 17:11, 20 November 2014 (UTC)

MarmotHead (talk)17:11, 20 November 2014