Researchers at City University in the United Kingdom put a ball, toy car, teddy bear and doll a few feet away from 90 children and watched which toys they played with and for how long. Boys overwhelmingly preferred the ball and car, while girls chose the doll and teddy bear.
Now one might say this stems from the children’s parents socializing them toward gender-typed toys, but here’s the catch: the kids were only 9 months old to 36 months old.
Presenting their findings at the British Psychological Society’s annual conference, researchers said this pointed toward an “intrinsic bias” among infants as to which type of toy they preferred.
In other words, boys are just born loving cars (this explains so much about roughly half of our editorial staff).
One researcher attending the conference, Dr. Brenda Todd, offered an important caveat to this. Even at such a young age, children are already being socialized by their surroundings and the people caring for them.
Nonetheless, the study opens the door for even more interesting questions about where this “intrinsic bias” might come from and what evolutionary purpose it might serve or be a consequence of.
Boys ‘Prefer Cars From Early On’ (BBC News)