Monkeys mimic kids in toy selections

Dec 08, 2005

A Texas A&M study suggests biological pre-wiring determines why boys and girls enjoy playing with different types of toys, not sociological factors.

Psychologist Gerianne Alexander says it's commonly believed boys and girls learn what types of toys they should like based solely on society's expectations. But she says her research brings that into question.

Alexander, who studies sex differences in behavior and biological factors that influence them, examined monkeys as they interacted with toys

She and Melissa Hines of the University of London found monkeys' toy preferences are consistent along gender lines as those of human children. Young male monkeys enjoyed playing with model cars and young female monkeys preferred dolls.

"Masculine toys and feminine toys," Alexander says, "are clearly categories constructed by people. However, our finding that male and female vervet monkeys show similar preferences for these toys as boys and girls do, suggests that what makes a 'boy toy' and a 'girl toy' is more than just what society dictates -- it suggests that there may be perceptual cues that attract males or females to particular objects such as toys."

The study appeared earlier this year in the journal "Evolution and Human Behavior."

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Fear of losing money, not spending habits, affects investor risk tolerance, study finds

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Gift Guide: Techie kids' toys for every age group

Dec 16, 2010

(AP) -- While stores still sell a plethora of good old-fashioned toys such as board games, action figures and stuffed animals, electronic ones aren't exactly a niche category anymore either.

Recommended for you

Shrinking dinosaurs evolved into flying birds (w/ Video)

6 hours ago

A new study involving scientists from the University of Southampton has revealed how massive, meat-eating, ground-dwelling dinosaurs evolved into agile flying birds: they just kept shrinking and shrinking, ...

Congressional rift over environment influences public

10 hours ago

American citizens are increasingly divided over the issue of environmental protection and seem to be taking their cue primarily from Congress, finds new research led by a Michigan State University scholar.

Rural loss and ruin can be avoided

12 hours ago

An Australian Reconstruction Development Board needs to be established to help avoid more needless forcing of Australian farmers from their land, a QUT economist has said.

User comments : 0