The following appeared as part of a letter to the editor of a scientific journal.
"A recent study of eighteen rhesus monkeys provides clues as to the effects of birth order on an individual's levels of stimulation. The study showed that in stimulating situations (such as an encounter with an unfamiliar monkey), firstborn infant monkeys produce up to twice as much of the hormone cortisol, which primes the body for increased activity levels, as do their younger siblings. Firstborn humans also produce relatively high levels of cortisol in stimulating situations (such as the return of a parent after an absence). The study also found that during pregnancy, first-time mother monkeys had higher levels of cortisol than did those who had had several offspring."
Write a response in which you discuss one or more alternative explanations that could rival (compete) the proposed explanation and explain how your explanation(s) can plausibly account for the facts presented in the argument.
The situation is quite logically presented, but also other explanations of the study results can be regarded.
Conducted experiment shows that for eighteen rhesus monkeys the birth order effects level of stimulation of infants and their mothers. But it doesn’t prove that this study can be extended to the whole monkey population and 18 coincidences could be considered as a representative sample, so for scientific paper it’s quite amateur investigation. A more advanced research should be done in order to say whether firstborn monkeys are really more active than their siblings.
As regards another interpretation it can relate to the psychological approach of this question. Psychologically and physically first pregnancy for monkey or for woman is more emotional and hard process than next pregnancies. So first-time mothers can go through higher hormonal disorders and their excessive hormone cortisol can influence not only their mood and pattern of comportment, but also be inherited by infants and define their dealings.
Moreover, a question should be raised if we could compare this phenomenon for animals and people, and whether it is workable and practicable to rely on proved matter for one species in strengthening the evidence of the cause-effect relationship for another species or vice verse, in this letter concerning human beings and monkeys.
To sum up, it can be argued that either tentative was weak or the letter to the editor for written unclear as we can interpret the outcomes a lot differently, which is not acceptable in science.
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