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Look out, progressives: New research has determined there are “robust sex differences” in boys’ and girls’ choices of toys “across a range of ages, time periods, countries, and settings.”
According to a report PsyPost, the University College London’s Institute for Women’s Health research found that children “overwhelmingly chose to play with toys typed to their gender,” throwing a monkey wrench into the beliefs of those who say gender is merely a “social construct.”
The study said sex differences in toy preferences held true even after accounting for the effects of “the presence or absence of an adult, the study setting, the gender equality status of the country, year of publication, and presence of gender‐neutral toys.”
“There is a fashion today to say that gender is purely a social construct. In reality, gendered behaviour is a mix of biology and social influence, and I think our meta-analysis supports this view,” [study author John A.] Barry told PsyPost.
The study should not be misinterpreted as suggesting that boys and girls should only play with toys that correspond to their gender roles, he warned.
“I think the major caveat is that the findings of this study are descriptive, not prescriptive. In other words, the meta-analysis demonstrates, for example, that in general boys prefer playing with male-typical toys, but this is not to say that boys should play only with male typical toys,” Barry explained.
“The studies show that a minority of children play with gender-atypical toys. My interpretation of this is that playing with gender-atypical toys is a common and harmless variation on the norm, not to be discouraged.” …
“Research into gender differences often attracts criticism which seems to be based on the moral judgement that biological bases for sex differences are somehow harmful to society,” he told PsyPost. “As scientists, and as members of the public who value truth over opinion, we need to move beyond moralistic arguments about facts and instead use the facts in beneficial ways […].”
The study was published in the journal Infant and Child Development,
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