Herald Sun

Boys and toys ... it's natural

By Michelle Pountney
Herald Sun (Australia)

LITTLE boys are biologically programmed to play with cars, trucks and balls. And girls will naturally play with dolls.

Scientists had believed boys and girls learn what toys to play with based on society's expectations.

But an experiment with young vervet monkeys has found a biological link is present.

Scientists have found that children's brains are wired to play with gender-specific toys.

Texas A&M University psychologist Gerianne Alexander found that, although monkeys had no concept of boy and girl toys, male monkeys spent more time playing with boy toys including a car and ball.

The girls spent the most time playing with a doll and a pot.

Males and females spent about the same amount of time playing with gender neutral toys.

"Masculine toys and feminine toys are clearly categories constructed by people," Ms Alexander said.

"(Our finding) suggests that there may be perceptual cues that attract males or females to particular objects such as toys."

This report appears on news.com.au.

© 2002 Herald and Weekly Times