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Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Science behind Choosing Toys

Wondered why girls are drawn to the baby dolls while boys are fascinated by guns, balls and toy cars as soon as they crawl?
Generally in our society, we are indoctrinated with a cultural and societal dogma that girls preferring kitchen toys or pink dolls and, boys picking up wheeled trucks, Lego, or balls, is more kind of a traditional inheritance for gender classification that evolved alongside the process of evolution.
However, with an increasing number of scientific evidences obtained from various empirical studies, it has revealed that the children are born with gender-specific toys, meaning that the preference of the toys by both male and female is more likely influenced by biological (hormones or genes) reasons.   
The experiments conducted by some notable social scientists and psychologists involving the primates - primarily the rhesus and vervet monkeys (Alexander & Hines, 2002) – have found that the preference of the toys is more likely influenced by hormonal and genetic reasons. The ingenious study which got published in Evolution and Human Behavior stunned the scientific world by its findings as male monkeys preferred masculine toys while female monkeys chose feminine toys among those masculine, feminine and neutral toys.    
Later a study by Brenda and Sara (2010) has also reported to the British Psychological Association a similar finding that ‘the infants showed a strong preference for the toys which were stereotypically representative of their gender’. Of the infants (9-14 months) who were involved in the study, they found that the girls spent significantly longer playing with the dolls while the boys were gravitated towards playing car and balls. ‘The males through evolution have been adapted to prefer moving objects, probably through hunting instincts, while girls prefer warmer colours such as pink, the colour of a newborn baby’ the paper reported.     
Such studies have set up a momentum of a historic breakthrough in establishing the relation of toys based on gender.  
In the field of Health and Physical Education, such biological bias for their choices in children, is also largely associated with so-called the Anticipatory Theory.
From a very young age, the girls are interested in cuddling the baby dolls, often displaying the representative role of a mother and her nurturing fondness. The boys, on the other hand, are inclined towards wearing a military uniform and playing with gun toys, lifting the weights – and these days, those typical WWE stunts or NyaGoe actions – or jumping over a hill, mostly involving a muscular capacity. Basically in almost all ways, ‘the boys form hierarchies, wrestling, play-fighting and electing leaders, which are hardwired male brain’ (Allan & Pease, 2010).  
Such acts in reality depicts how the child anticipates its future based on their gender. As a parents, it is vital to understand their form of play with the kind of toys they interact, as it not only derives them a fun and amusement but also hints the kind of future they would take interest later in life.
“Men are self-confident because they grow up identifying with super-heroes. Women have bad self-images because they grow identifying with Barbie”- Rita Rudner


  1. Yes. And no.
    I only hope that children are given the toys THEY lean towards rather than gender specific ones.

  2. A well-researched post, Sir. It makes a lot of sense. Thanks for sharing your wisdom la



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