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Tero Toivanen

Why boys will pick Bob over Barbie - children are genetically programmed, say scientist... - 0 views

  • Tests involving children as young as three months suggest biological differences and not social pressures dictate which toys children like to play with. The U.S. study looked at babies aged three to eight months - before they can identify even the gender of other people.
  • Researchers placed a doll and truck inside a puppet-theatre style box and showed them to 30 children - 17 boys and 13 girls - for two ten-second intervals.The findings, from researchers at Texas A&M University, overturn conventional wisdom that children's toy preferences are down to social conditioning.
  • For the study, led by Gerianne Alexander, researchers set up a presentation box similar to a puppet theatre and placed a doll and truck inside.
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  • Eye-tracking technology measured how many times and how long the babies focused or 'fixated' on each object.
  • The researchers found that 'girls showed a visual preference for the doll over the toy truck and boys compared to girls showed a greater number of visual fixations on the truck'.
  • It seems unlikely that object interests in infants younger than nine months of age are a result of internal motivation to conform to external referents of gender role behaviour.
  • The study reinforces the findings of previous research by Dr Alexander involving green vervet monkeys. Male monkeys spent more time playing with traditional male toys such as a car and a ball than did female monkeys. The female monkeys, however, spent more time playing with a doll and a pot than did the males. 
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    The researchers found that 'girls showed a visual preference for the doll over the toy truck and boys compared to girls showed a greater number of visual fixations on the truck'.
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