Publication Date

Spring 4-30-2020


Although many differences in the behavior of men and women resemble those of other mammals, their developmental roots remain hotly debated due to the strong force of culture, including gender socialization, on human behavior. However, we can examine alternative and complementary mechanisms by studying chimpanzees, a closely-related species with complex sociality but without gender socialization. This dissertation comprises a multi-year, observational study of wild chimpanzee development examining three potential drivers of sex-typed social behavior: social experience, underlying differences in attention, and hormonal physiology. Immature chimpanzees experienced differential aggressive exposure that was shaped by their own early-emerging behavioral patterns. Both sexes attended similarly to nearby affiliative interactions, but males were more likely initiate affiliation after watching. Finally, chimpanzees exhibited human-like prepubertal increases of the adrenal androgen, DHEAS. These results identified multiple pathways toward sexually-differentiated social strategies that could also operate to shape human behavior, even in the absence of gender socialization.


behavioral development; early life experience; aggression; hormonal development

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Degree Name


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First Advisor

Field, Les

First Committee Member (Chair)

Melissa Emery Thompson

Second Committee Member

Martin N. Muller

Third Committee Member

Sherry V. Nelson

Fourth Committee Member

Elizabeth V. Lonsdorf

Included in

Anthropology Commons