Factors affecting infant toy preferences

Journal article by Liquan Liu, Paola Escudero, Christina Quattropani & Rachel A. Robbins in Infancy, published online June 2020.

AbstractImage may contain: Facial expression, Product, Gesture, Happy, Font.

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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Published June 1, 2021 1:47 PM - Last modified June 1, 2021 1:47 PM