Why Do Boys and Girls Prefer Different Toys?

Throughout the world, boys and girls prefer to play with different types of toys. Read More

Study too limited

Of course female monkeys will be interested in toys that resemble infants. Did the scientists examine whether female monkeys prefer dress-up toys, the colors pink and purple, or Barbie dolls? Did they explore whether male monkeys might be interested in playing with "male" toys that DIDN't roll? The female preference for dolls was not even statistically significant. At this point, it is ridiculously presumptuous to claim, on the basis of a handful of limited studies, that "it is becoming less and less likely that 'gender socialization' is the reason why boys and girls prefer different toys." Quite the opposite; gender socialization has a LOT to say about toy preferences--and a lot more studies to provide evidence.

To Laura, and others

Right on, Laura! You're absolutely correct!

It is logically impossible that females have a genetic preference for cooking pots. >.<
What *is* possible is that males have a slightly more developed pareital lobe or better visual/spatial skills for some reason, and so are more interested in toys that move. Still, this is a big leap, and much more studies need to be done.

But you can just *hear* them stretching the findings. And so much unwarranted conjecture. And why are we talking about statistically *insignificant* findings in the first place??

only one

"...as a girl might." Yeah, all the girls I know, they're just constantly doing those anogenital inspections; you just can't keep them away.
A pretty good article outside that one insult to the readers, but Like Laura, I wonder if anyone has tried it with toys that are "feminine" but not "infant-like", to factor out the obvious confound?

Resistance to socialized cues

I think this article is quite provocative even if it lacks some depth. For years socialization has been the main explanation for children's choice of toys, however, many people have long suspected there may be some genetic programming also at work, it is just very difficult to prove this when socialization begins at birth. I am reminded of a program I saw that interviewed and followed transexuals going through different stages of gender change. Many of the interviewed people claimed to have always had an intense interst in what are considered gender opposite toys. Many homosexuals also report that at a young age they were attracted to toys played with by mainly the opposite sex even when continually scolded by parents. There must be something more to toy selection than socialization and at least this monkey study is a start at exploring such a theory. It is rarely assumed that being gay is a result of socialization, yet other basic gender issues ( interests other than sexual interest) are reduced to only socialization.

the boy who was raised as a girl

Reading this book really opened my eyes. Basically,doctors botched a circumcision on one of twin brothers; assumed [no penis] = [girl]; everybody did their best to raise him as one; failed. Lots of things in this story to think about.


See, I wouldn't have guessed

See, I wouldn't have guessed that the position that girls and boys, taken on average, have preferences for girl and boy toys for biological reasons would be a controversial position. Um, duh?

I love the monkey experiments though, and the picture's cool. Monkey boys like cars! Are these adult monkeys though? Do infant monkeys play with toys?

And as for the education system

Of course females don't want to admit that boys and girls have inherent differences, or they would have to admit that the education system is extremely biased towards females. I won't elaborate as it would take to long, but commonsense is the only lense needed to view the corrupt feminist, marxist education system for what it is.

To answer dzho and Laura:

To answer dzho and Laura: yes. The first study was done with toys that were chosen based on preferences found in human children. Although this study used different toys, it also found a statistically significant difference between toy preference between males and females. Scientifically, it's appropriate to critique a study based on its hypothesis, methodology, or interpretation of results. You can't make sound objections by criticizing it on the basis of the pictures it uses.

Re: to laura

Laura said: "Did they explore whether male monkeys might be interested in playing with "male" toys that DIDN't roll?".

Laura is obviously missing the point. the point of studies like these is not to prove that every male monkey is going to play with every male toy. The point is to show that if male and female monkeys are exposed to the same selection of toys, they will choose different toys to play with. In fact it is even a non-issue if you label them male or female. the fact that they choose differently is of such importance because it shows that males and females have different preferences in life across species, i.e. without socialisation.

I can see why Laura struggles, like so many extreme feminists, to come to terms with the fact, that socialization does not explain our different life choices. The reason for their resentment obviously being that in the end they would have to accept and live with the fact that also choices like what we work with, whether we want to raise kids and if we become successful at certain task or skills depends on our sex. However, simply not "liking" something does not make it wrong.

And denial is of greater risk than progressivly working with the fact that we are different and supporting and accepting each individual in its entirety.

Ironically the gender-mainstreaming has become the greatest risk for individual freedom.

Further Research On This Study Should Be Done

I am really surprise of a study like this. But it is still vague. What about little boys that like Babie dolls and little girls that like to play with trucks.

More of a study has to be done here. A great read anyway:)

Ask the monkey!

We as humans differentiate from other animals for the fact that we are able to change our genes (epigenetics). That is the power of our mind, that is the ability we have to go beyond and transform ourselves. If we justify our gender stereotypes because a certain primate species exhibits them I think we as humans are not evolving at all!

In our culture its ok for a girl to play soccer, but its unacceptable for a boy to play with a doll. We let the girls play whatever they want to, but the boys don´t have that right. So if you are a boy and you want to play with dolls there is something wrong with you because vervet monkeys say so?

From now on if you have doubts about how to raise your kids just ask a vervet monkey and it must know the answer!!


The level of testosterone accounts for the differences. Everything is biologically determined, so says Darwin.

Darwin doesn't know everything

To Dr. Watson,

Everything is not biologically determined, so says Social Psychology (among other disciplines).

Psychology has shown, through countless studies (how many true experiments did Darwin do?), that many behaviors are determined by environmental factors (i.e., socialization: what do you think brings about evolution anyway?). Biology doesn't occur in a vacuum.

It's been demonstrated that both genetics and environment are equally important for determining human behavior. Perhaps we are born with gender differences, but it is likely that socialization reinforces these genetic tenancies to varying degrees.

Just as we are not born with a set IQ, but an IQ range and different factors determine where our IQ will end up (e.g., early nurturing, training, even nutrition), likewise we are not born with a strict maleness or femaleness. The environment interacts with our biology to determine what manifests itself.

Anyone who is a good critical thinker should be able to realize that life is not so black and white, so clear cut. Things are always more complicated than that.

That being said, I do acknowledge that biology is important. It would be interesting to see a study that manipulates the hormone levels within these monkeys (assuming that is one of the causal factors) and see whether that affects their toy choices.

Study Proves Nothing

Once again, people lump all girls and all guys together. I'm a girl, and when I was little I preferred the "masculine toys" over the feminine ones. I eve enjoyed ripping the heads off Barbies. Lots of other girls too. Humans tend to show interest in the appropriate gender-specific toys because they get made fun of if they don't, so parents don't give the kids much of a choice.

Doing a study with animals proves nothing with humans, as they think differently, and don't experience life in near the same ways.

I agree with the person that said girls don't check out the genders of the dolls. I've NEVER seen that happen. I mean, sure, they change the dolls clothes, and would see then, but they don't just go looking at the genitals to find out if its a girl or guy, they know when they get it.

The President of Harvard was fired over this research !

Harvard University President Lawrence Summers issued an apology for citing this data and correlating it with his own daughter who given trucks, played with them like dolls, truck naming one of them "daddy truck".

WSJ January 19, 2005 "Harvard Chief's Comments on Women Assailed"

MSNBC Jan. 17, 2005 "Furor over Harvard chief's comments"

Shame on evil women who should be disgraced such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology biologist Nancy Hopkins whom got him fired for citing this research in a speech.

This research was conducted well before 2005, but the liberal feminazis railroaded a great funding president of Harvard.

Quite disturbing. Its even forbidden to discus IQ tests given a day after birth between Blacks and Whites (flash reflex), let alone at age 6, or 12.

GENETICS CONTROLS OUR BRAIN DEVELOPMENT, society can harm or hinder or augment slightly.

NOT statistically significant

I think the author here missed the key point in the data about the female "preference": it was NOT statistically significant. Accordingly it does NOT prove the point being made even if we ignore all the problems with the experimental design.


Justin Brown and Jim M, do you guys really need to come in here with your victimization complexes and blame the politicize good science?

This has NO implications regarding feminism or the education system. You are reading too far into it and your paranoia of "fem-nazis and liberal bias" is clouding your judgment. But I guess you can't help it because your political spectrum is one of those things haplessly determined by your childhood UNLIKE general toy preference.

29438, first you cite USELESS anecdotal evidence and then you claim that psychological studies of animals cannot be extrapolated to humans? Yeah, because you've never "seen" something happen, it doesn't happen? I'm surprised you were able to answer the Math question before posting.

Rich, Dr. Watson and Satoshi are the only ones here that know what the fuck they are talking about. Everyone else could do a world of good by paying more attention to their posts.


When will you silly feminazis learn that insulting language and pretentious language only makes you look worse?Honestly, I wasn't even paying attention to him until you started bitching. Haven't you anything else to do than to throw childish fits and respond with high school logic? Just because you don't agree doesn't mean you get to screech like the monkeys in the picture.

No, I take that back, the monkeys would be insulted.

Sex change for monkeys

Clearly these monkeys are in need of a sex change. Also, these monkeys need to given daily doses of amphetamines, to more accurately reflect American children.


LOL, cause toy trucks are cool and dolls are yuckie!


Anthony Pittarelli

Anthony Pittarelli LOVES trucks.....and FOOTBALL, BEER, and BIG BREAST!!!!!

Anthony Pittarelli

This is hilarious. Ok,

This is hilarious.

Ok, feminists, ok, so this isn't "good enough," so I have to ask...

What would it take to convince you that gender isn't just a social construct? What would it take to convince you that biological considerations have a significant role to play in any progressive conceptualization of Gender Theory?

As for the stuff about education... A quick look at census.gov will tell you, without any room for quibbling over sample size or other BS, that the current system is significantly biased toward girls. Here, nearly 60% of graduate students are women: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/education/0126... Folks are entitled to their own opinions, but they aren't entitled to their own facts.

Now, while I agree that this monkey study is only tangentially related to human education, biologically-based gender differences would seem to imply that what is good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander. Single-sex schools, especially in middle school and high school, would perhaps be best for everybody involved.

1. Science would help.

1. Science would help. Like legitimate research. Not this evolutionary psychology conjecture.

2. There are more females than males in the population. Also, maybe women are just biologically more intelligent. =)

3. Well, for sure single-sex schools might be good. I certainly would have been very distracted in a co-ed high school. However there is no scientific or moral reason for the material or the methods of education to differ.

I say this as a feminist, male, psych major, who went to a single-sex highschool. =D

If number 2 was correct,

If number 2 was correct, there would be more female geniuses in existence than male ones.

It amazes me how you girls are so happy to be better than people who're not even trying. Guys get over this smarter than other gender thing after high school, it's pretty much a shame you haven't done so even in college.

I cannot help but comment on

I cannot help but comment on this. How could a monkey playing with a cooking pot possibly demonstrate any preference for a feminine toy? A monkey has no concept of what a cooking pot is. Replace cooking pot with vacuum cleaner to see how farcical it is.

I'm a woman and throughout

I'm a woman and throughout my whole life I have always preferred toys designed for boys, shows designed for boys, and even male dominated activities/industries (I'm currently a 3D artist).

I always hated toys like dolls, and always wanted to play with trucks, video games, dinosaurs and action figures. I loved tv shows like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.. I just hated most things that I was "supposed" to like.

People would question my Mum.. Ask her why she let me play with trucks etc, like it was wrong. I had a speech therapist (yes I had trouble talking then), refuse to let me play with the boy toys even if thats what I picked because it was "wrong".

As I've gotten older I still love video games. I've done things that are male dominated like flying aeroplanes even though people would question "why".

I think I was supposed to be born a man. I'm straight, I don't -feel- like I'm a man or anything like that. I'm 100% female, (and I don't want to change) yet I'm just not hard-wired like I'm "supposed" to be. It made out for a frustrating childhood.

and so?

And Laura, why is this important? I don't think the scientists in this article claimed that 100 % that boys like boy toys and women like female toys. Just because you are one in a thousand and happen to like boy toys doesn't mean that they data is incorrect. Are you trying to say that you are more intelligent than scientists who have spent their careers studying these things? So you've somehow found the answers that these scientists could not?

When I was growing up, all the girls around me drew horses and liked dolls. Oh but yes, there was this one girl who played football with the boys. But you know, the other 99 % of girls played with dolls. It's called genetics.

This study seems to assume

This study seems to assume monkeys aren't socialized in any way, but is that really a valid assumption?

Were the monkeys raised in isolation (that would be pretty cruel) by genderless robots? I'm pretty sure that the monkeys could take cues from their human handlers even if they were raised away from other monkeys.

I'm curious if male monkeys tend to play with sticks and females play with flowers.

Excellent Point!!!

....I was going to make the exact same point...

Andre is correct that the conclusions is based on the assumption that the monkey's hadn't received any previous gender socialization. Therefore, the gender behavior they exhibit must be hardwired.

Unless the researchers somehow controlled for the possibility of prior socialization (disclaimer: I didn't read the actual article), then the results are largely uninterpretable.

I would hesitate to call this research ingenious....to me, they failed to control for a VERY big variable in the experimental model.

I'm guessing this is a good explanation for why the follow up study failed verify the findings with any statistical significance.

why the male monkeys select vehicle toys

male monkeys go for vehicle toys.... well, may be b'cos female monkeys have already got hold of all the dolls.

females are hard wired to dolls (babies) can be acceptable. why does monkeys go for vehicles ? even little boys for that matter? how long have been vehicles were there ? is it enough duration to be able to have a genetic imprint ? I think males would go for any other toy available that a doll.

Just to show their not girls! :-)