Boys are genetically programmed to play with cars and balls rather than dolls, say American scientists.
The tests, involving 30 children – 17 boys and 13 girls – suggest biological differences dictate the toys children enjoy playing with rather than purely social pressures as previously believed.
The study involved babies aged between 3 and 8 months, before they can identify the gender of other people. Each baby was shown a doll and truck inside a puppet-theatre box for two 10-second intervals. Eye-tracking technology measured how many times and for how long the babies focused on each object.
The study found that girls showed a visual preference for the doll and the boys spent more time looking at the truck.
It’s thought that it could be down to the exposure to sex hormones in the womb, which have a bearing on many gender-related behaviours. However, scientists say that society’s expectations do build on these gender preferences as children get older.
Does your daughter like dolls, or son love cars? Or do they play with whatever toys they like?