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- 1 The relationship with gender
- 2 The relationship with disability
- 3 The effects of media advertising
- 4 Influences of androgens
- 5 Toy selection in animals
- 6 See also
- 7 Further reading
- 8 Key texts
- 9 Additional material
- 10 External links
The relationship with gender[edit | edit source]
Certain toys, such as Barbie dolls and toy soldiers, are often perceived as being more acceptable for one gender than the other. It has been noted by researchers that, "Children as young as 18 months display sex-stereotyped toy choices".
However, when eye movement is tracked in young infants, infant girls even show a visual preference for a doll over a toy truck. Interestingly, the opposite is true for infant boys. This shows that even before any self-awareness of gender identity has emerged, children already prefer sex-typical toys. These clear differences in toy choice are well established within the child by the age of three.
Parents, siblings, peers, and even teachers have been shown to react more positively to children engaging in sex-typical behavior and playing with sex-typical toys. Additionally, sons are more likely to be reinforced for sex-typical play and discouraged from atypical play. However, it is generally not as looked down upon for females to play with toys designed "for boys", an activity which has also become more common in recent years. Fathers are also more likely to reinforce typical play and discourage atypical play than mothers are.
The relationship with disability[edit | edit source]
The effects of media advertising[edit | edit source]
Influences of androgens[edit | edit source]
Fetuses are exposed to prenatal androgens as early as 8 weeks into development. Male fetuses are exposed to much higher levels of androgens than female fetuses. It’s been found that toy preferences, as well as choice of play-mates, and play-styles vary with the child’s exposure to androgens. Regardless of the biological sex of the child, increased androgen exposure is associated with more masculine-type behaviours, while decreased androgen exposure is associated with more feminine-type behaviours.
Toy preference studies[edit | edit source]
Toys for girls tend to be round and pink, while toys for boy tend to be angular and blue. The subtle characteristics of toys may differentially appeal to the developing brains of female and male children. In a study of toy preferences of twelve- to 24-month-old infants, males spent more time looking at cars than females and females spent more time looking at dolls than males. No preference for color was found. Animal studies have lent further support for biologically determined gendered toy preferences. In a study of juvenile rhesus monkeys, when given the option between plush or wheeled toys, female monkeys gravitated toward plush toys, while male monkeys preferred toys with wheels. These findings suggest that gendered preferences for toys can occur without the socialization processes that we find in humans. Female rhesus monkeys also tend to engage in more nurturing play activities, while males tend to engage in more rough-and-tumble play.
Girls with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) have atypically high blood concentrations of testosterone. In studies of toy preference, these girls show increased interest in male-typical toys, like trucks and balls. Overall, their play habits and preferences more closely resembled male-typical play than female-typical play. Even with children exposed a normal range of prenatal androgens, increased testosterone was associated with increased preference for male-typical toys, and decreased prenatal testosterone was associated with greater interest in female-typical toys.
Overall, the degree of androgen exposure during prenatal and postnatal development may bias males and females toward specific cognitive processes, which are further reinforced through processes of socialization. The male interest in balls and wheeled toys may relate to the androgenised brains preference for objects that move through space. The higher levels of androgens in the developing male brain could elicit greater attraction to cars and balls, while lower levels of androgens elicit a preference for dolls and nurturing activities in the female brain.
There is some evidence that animals can display similar sex based toy selection as humans.
See also[edit | edit source]
- Caldera, Yvonne M., Aletha C. Huston, Marion O'Brien (February 1989). Social Interactions and Play Patterns of Parents and Toddlers with Feminine, Masculine, and Neutral Toys. Child Development 60 (1): 70–76.
- Alexander, G. M., Wilcox, T., & Woods, R. (2009). Sex differences in infants' visual interest in toys. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 38, 427-433. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9430-1
- Alexander, G. M., & Saenz, J. (2012). Early androgens, activity levels and toy choices of children in the second year of life. Hormones and Behavior, 62, 500-504.
- Servin, A., Bohlin, G., & Berlin, L. (1999). Sex differences in 1-, 3-, and 5-year olds' toy-choice in a structured play-session. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 40, 43-48.
- Toys for Girls and Boys - The Canadian Toy Testing Council accessed 27 May 2007 Template:Wayback
- Berenbaum, S. A., Martin, C. L., Hanish, L. D., Briggs, P. T., & Fabes, R. A. (2008). Sex differences in children’s play. In J. Becker, K. Berkley, N. Geary, E. Hampson , J.Herman, & Young, E.A. (Eds.), Sex Differences in the Brain from Genes to Behavior (1ed., pp. 275-290).New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
- Jadva, V., et al. (2010). Infants' preferences for toys, colors and shapes. Arch. Sex. Behav. 39 (6): 1261–73.
- Alexander, G.M. (2003). An evolutionary perspective of sex-typed toy preferences: pink, blue, and the brain. Arch. Sex. Behav. 32 (1): 7–14.
- Hines, M. (2010). Sex-related variation in human behavior and the brain. Trends in Neurosciences 14 (10): 448.
- Hassett, Janice M., Siebert, Erin R., Wallen, Kim. (2008). Differences in Rhesus Monkey Toy Preferences Parallel those of Children. Hormones and Behavior 54 (3): 359–64.
Further reading[edit | edit source]
Key texts[edit | edit source]
Books[edit | edit source]
- Goldstein, J. H. (1992). Sex differences in aggressive play and toy preference. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
- Hartmann, W., & Brougere, G. (2004). Toy Culture in Preschool Education and Children's Toy Preferences. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.
- Lederman, E. (1986). Developmental toys and equipment: A practical guide to selection and utilization. Springfield, IL, England: Charles C Thomas, Publisher.
Papers[edit | edit source]
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- Vieira, T. (1994). Motivational and cognitive aspects concerning the use of objects in make-believe play: Psicologia: Teoria e Pesquisa Vol 10(2) May-Aug 1994, 231-248.
- Wacker, D. P., Wiggins, B., Fowler, M., & Berg, W. K. (1988). Training students with profound or multiple handicaps to make requests via microswitches: Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis Vol 21(4) Win 1988, 331-343.
- Wallen, K., & Hassett, J. M. (2008). Determining preference requires measuring preference: Hormones and Behavior Vol 54(3) Aug 2008, 480-481.
- Washington, B. R. (1976). Sustained directed activity in 18 and 30-month-old twins: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Wehman, P. (1976). Selection of play materials for the severely handicapped: A continuing dilemma: Education & Training of the Mentally Retarded Vol 11(1) Feb 1976, 46-50.
- Weiner, E. A., & Weiner, B. J. (1974). Differentiation of retarded and normal children through toy-play analysis: Multivariate Behavioral Research Vol 9(2) Apr 1974, 245-252.
- Weinraub, M., & et al. (1984). The development of sex role stereotypes in the third year: Relationships to gender labeling, gender identity, sex-typed toy preference, and family characteristics: Child Development Vol 55(4) Aug 1984, 1493-1503.
- Wolf, T. M. (1973). Effects of live modeled sex-inappropriate play behavior in a naturalistic setting: Developmental Psychology Vol 9(1) Jul 1973, 120-123.
- Wolf, T. M. (1975). Influence of age and sex of model on sex-inappropriate play: Psychological Reports Vol 36(1) Feb 1975, 99-105.
- Wolf, T. M. (1975). Response consequences to televised modeled sex-inappropriate play behavior: Journal of Genetic Psychology Vol 127(1) Sep 1975, 35-44.
- Wolf, T. M. (1976). Effects of live adult modeled sex-inappropriate play behavior in a naturalistic setting: Journal of Genetic Psychology Vol 128(1) Mar 1976, 27-32.
- Wolfgang, C. H., & Phelps, P. (1983). Preschool Play Materials Preference Inventory: Early Child Development and Care Vol 12(2) 1983, 127-141.
- Yen, A. (1985). Characteristics of toys preferred by young children: Information on Psychological Sciences No 2 1985, 51-52.
- Zammuner, V. L. (1988). Sex-role knowledge and preference: A study with Dutch children and adults: Eta Evolutiva No 31 Oct 1988, 48-61.
- Zimmerman, B. J., & Koussa, R. (1979). Social influences on children's toy preferences: Effects of model rewardingness and affect: Contemporary Educational Psychology Vol 4(1) Jan 1979, 55-66.
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- Zupancic, M. (2002). Object-related behaviors in solitary play with different toys: Two groups of toddlers compared: Studia Psychologica Vol 44(1) 2002, 15-28.
Additional material[edit | edit source]
Books[edit | edit source]
- Niel, B., & Landreth, G. L. (2001). Have toys--will travel: A traveling play therapist in the school setting. New York, NY: Brunner-Routledge.
- Roberts, G. C., & Black, K. N. (1973). The effect of naming and object permanence on toy preferences. Oxford, England: Alfred A Knopf.
Papers[edit | edit source]
- Google Scholar
- Acosta-Alzuru, C., & Kreshel, P. J. (2002). "I'm an American girl...Whatever that means": Girls consuming Pleasant Company's American girl identity: Journal of Communication Vol 52(1) Mar 2002, 139-161.
- Ashton, E. (1983). Measures of play behavior: The influence of sex-role stereotyped children's books: Sex Roles Vol 9(1) Jan 1983, 43-47.
- Baer, R. A., & Detrich, R. (1990). Tacting and manding in correspondence training: Effects of child selection of verbalization: Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior Vol 54(1) Jul 1990, 23-30.
- Barrett, K. C., Campos, J. J., & Emde, R. N. (1996). Infants' use of conflicting emotion signals: Cognition & Emotion Vol 10(2) Mar 1996, 113-135.
- Beisel, D. (1984). Thoughts on the Cabbage Patch Kids: Journal of Psychohistory Vol 12(1) Sum 1984, 133-142.
- Bell, N. J., & Carver, W. (1980). A reevaluation of gender label effects: Expectant mothers' responses to infants: Child Development Vol 51(3) Sep 1980, 925-927.
- Burkhard, B., Rachlin, H., & Schrader, S. (1978). Reinforcement and punishment in a closed system: Learning and Motivation Vol 9(4) Nov 1978, 392-410.
- Cook, A. S., & Culp, R. E. (1981). Mutual play of mothers with their Down's syndrome and normal infants: International Journal of Rehabilitation Research Vol 4(4) Dec 1981, 542-544.
- de Freitas Ribeiro, A. (1989). Correspondence in children's self-report: Tacting and manding aspects: Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior Vol 51(3) May 1989, 361-367.
Dissertations[edit | edit source]
- Adubato, S. A. (1985). Father involvement, sex typing, and the toy play of children: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Boston, M. B. (1985). Sex role models, implicit expectations, and sex typed behavior choice in 18 to 24 and 36 to 42 month old children: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Burkhard, B. J. (1977). Contingent behavior in children: An economic approach to Premack's theory of reinforcement: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Chi, S. A. (1992). A comparison of the effects of play materials on preschool children's social play behaviors: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Chiang, L. (1986). Developmental differences in children's use of play materials: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Christmas, E. E. (1975). Children's interactions with social and nonsocial behavior objects in a multi-age evening care setting: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Conover, D. K. (1973). Object preference and resulting movement behaviors of three to seven year old custodial and trainable retarded boys: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Doering, R. W. (1982). Parental reinforcement of gender-typed behaviours in boys with atypical gender identity: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Flood, B. (1975). The effects of an infant environment on infant social interrelationships and infant relationships with the physical environment: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Frasher, R. S. (1975). Modification of children's toy preferences: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Fridy, J. L. (1986). Unstructured materials: A contextual approach to the attentional deficits of developmentally delayed preschool children: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Gopaul-McNicol, S.-A. A. (1987). A cross-cultural study of the effects of modeling, reinforcement and color meaning word association on doll color preference of Black preschool children and White preschool children in New York and Trinidad: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Grumet, J. F. (1975). Effects of adult and peer sanctions on children's attributions of preference: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Guinn, M. F. (1985). Gender type toy preferences of native American, non-native American preschool children in day care, non-day care settings: Dissertation Abstracts International
- Liss, M. B. (1977). The effects of televised modeling cues on children's sex-typed toy preferences: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- May, B. W. (1978). Color preference for Black and White infants and young children: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Merbler, J. B. (1977). The effects of elaborated play, linguistic marking, and object preference on the performance of infants on Piagetian object permanence tasks: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Moller, L. C. (1993). Toddler peer preferences: The role of gender awareness, sex-typed toy preferences and compatible play styles: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Moody, M. E. (1977). Developmental trends in children's imitation of parental sex-appropriate, sex-inappropriate, and non-sex-typed behavior: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- O'Brien, M. (1983). Sex-typed toy play in toddlers: Origin and development: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Olson, K. M. (1993). Preference and choice: Effects on play behavior of children with and without disabilities: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Parker, A. M. (1992). Toy preference and play of developmentally delayed boys and girls: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Pennell, G. E. (1999). Doing gender with Santa: Gender-typing in children's toy preferences. Dissertation Abstracts International: Section B: The Sciences and Engineering.
- Robinson, C. C. (1983). The effects of sex-typed labeling in conjunction with sex-typed modeling upon preschool children's toy preference behavior: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Roggman, L. A. (1989). Age differences in the goals of play: Toy preferences and organization of visual attention by 10-month-olds, 15-month-olds, and 29-month-olds: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Ross, H. S. (1972). Novelty and complexity as determinants of exploratory behavior in 12-month-old infants: Dissertation Abstracts International Vol.
- Schmid, J. L. (1973). The choice and use of toys by Montessori preschoolers: The relation with sex, age, SES and conceptual tempo: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Schneider, J. W. (1993). An investigation of focused attention in opioid-exposed toddlers: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Silverstein, J. M. (1992). The effects of modeling, reinforcement, and word associations on doll preferences of Black and White preschoolers: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Steiner, L. L. (1980). A study of female kindergarten teachers' sex-role attitudes and their effect on kindergarten girls' sex-typed toy preferences: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Winter, S. M. (1983). Toddler play behaviors and equipment choices in an outdoor playground: Dissertation Abstracts International.
- Zubritzky, P. C. (1991). Toy preferences of three- and five-year-old children: Dissertation Abstracts International.