Factors affecting infant toy preferences
Journal article by Liquan Liu, Paola Escudero, Christina Quattropani & Rachel A. Robbins in Infancy, published online June 2020.
In contrast to the anecdotal claim that “male infants like cars and female infants like dolls,” previous studies have reported mixed findings for gender-related toy preferences in infancy. In Experiment 1, we explored the emergence of gender-related preferences using face–car pairs (Experiment 1a, n = 51, 6–20 months) or face–stove pairs (Experiment 1b, n = 54, 6–20 months). In Experiment 2 (n = 42, 14–16 months), we explore the effect of toy properties, infants' past toy exposure, activity levels, and parental attitudes on such preferences using a wider range of toys. For both studies, infants demonstrated a general preference for faced stimuli over other objects, except for male infants who showed no preference between dolls and cars at around 15 months. Infants' prior experience participating in motor-intensive activities, with wheeled toys and parental attitudes appeared to relate to female infants' preferences for dynamic toys. These results indicate a range of factors influence gendered toy preferences and suggest that nurture plays an important role.
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