The informative essay by Judy Mann {Metro, July 25} on "Why (S)He Acts So Funny" would have been even more informative if it had recognized the history of research by Eleanor Maccoby of Stanford University on how little boys and girls grow into their separate cultures.

Beginning in 1978 with studies of 33-month-old children, Dr. Maccoby and Carol Jacklin were able to show that passivity in girls was a function of how girls interacted in the presence of boys, and was not an innate personality trait. According to Dr. Maccoby, girls tried to influence others more by increasing the number of polite suggestions they made; boys tried to increase their influence over others more by use of direct demands. Since little girls had difficulty influencing boys, they sought to be with other little girls.

Studies by other researchers confirmed and extended the pattern described in this landmark study. They showed that communicative and dominance patterns, formed and reinforced throughout childhood, set the stage for subsequent interactional differences and later dysfunction in the family and at the workplace. A review of these studies was presented at the 1989 American Psychological Association convention in New Orleans, where Eleanor Maccoby offered the observation that boys in groups communicate through domination while girls communicate in ways that facilitate exchange. She went on to suggest that resolution of the war between the sexes may turn on men and women learning to work together for mutually important goals.

As a psychologist, I know that research on conflict resolution offers guidelines on how dual consideration skills may be used to bridge differences.