Thursday, 15 June 2017

Blog: Press Release for "Preferences for ‘Gender-typed’ Toys in Boys and Girls Aged 9 to 32 Months"

Todd, B. K., Barry, J. A., & Thommessen, S. A. (2016). Preferences for ‘Gender‐typed’Toys in Boys and Girls Aged 9 to 32 Months. Infant and Child Development

See below for a press release from City University on this paper from when it appeared on early view last year. The paper picked up quite a bit of media attention, some example links are at the bottom of this post.

Infants prefer toys typed to their gender, says study

Children as young as 9 months-old prefer to play with toys specific to their own gender, according to a new study from academics at City University London and UCL.

The paper, which is published in the journal of Infant and Child Development, shows that in a familiar nursery environment significant sex differences were evident at an earlier age than gendered identity is usually demonstrated.

The research therefore suggests the possibility that boys and girls follow different developmental trajectories with respect to selection of gender-typed toys and that there is both a biological and a developmental-environmental components to the sex differences seen in object preferences.
To investigate the gender preferences seen with toys, the researchers observed the toy preferences of boys and girls engaged in independent play in UK nurseries, without the presence of a parent. The toys used in the study were a doll, a pink teddy bear and a cooking pot for girls, while for boys a car, a blue teddy, a digger and a ball were used.

The 101 boys and girls fell into three age groups: 9 to 17 months, when infants can first demonstrate toy preferences in independent play (N=40); 18 to 23 months, when critical advances in gender knowledge occur (N=29); and 24 to 32 months, when knowledge becomes further established (N=32).

Stereotypical toy preferences were found for boys and girls in each of the age groups, demonstrating that sex differences in toy preference appear early in development. Both boys and girls showed a trend for an increasing preference with age for toys stereotyped for boys.

Speaking about the study, Dr Brenda Todd, a senior lecturer in psychology at City University said:
“Sex differences in play and toy choice are of interest in relation to child care, educational practice and developmental theory. Historically there has been uncertainty about the origins of boys’ and girls’ preferences for play with toys typed to their own sex and the developmental processes that underlie this behaviour. As a result we set out to find out whether a preference occurs and at what age it develops.

“Biological differences give boys an aptitude for mental rotation and more interest and ability in spatial processing, while girls are more interested in looking at faces and better at fine motor skills and manipulating objects. When we studied toy preference in a familiar nursery setting with parents absent, the differences we saw were consistent with these aptitudes.   Although there was variability between individual children, we found that, in general, boys played with male-typed toys more than female-typed toys and girls played with female-typed toys more than male-typed toys.

“Our results show that there are significant sex differences across all three age groups, with the finding that children in the youngest group, who were aged between 9–17 months when infants are able to crawl or walk and therefore make independent selections,  being particularly interesting; the ball was a favourite choice for the youngest boys and the youngest girls favoured the cooking pot.”

Materials provided by City University

Selected media coverage for this paper:- 
R&D mag "Infants Choose Toys Based on Gender, Study Says"
American Council on Science and Health "Infants Prefer Toys by Gender"
Romper "Do Little Girls Really Prefer Playing With Dolls? New Study Claims It's Biological"
MalayMail Online "Study finds children as young as nine months old prefer gender specific toys"
Mail Online "Why do boys prefer balls to Barbies? It may be in their GENES: Children as young as nine months prefer gender-specific toys"

Post image via Pixabay

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The effect of siblings on children's social skills and perspective taking

Samantha Sang (Department of Family and Human Development, Arizona State University)
Jackie Nelson (School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas)

Paper Highlights:-

  • Researchers examined how sibling characteristics influenced social competence based on child's gender.
  • Hierarchical regression analyses suggested girls without a sibling had greater perspective taking than girls with brothers, boys with brothers seemed to somewhat benefit in perspective taking and increases in social skills over one year were observed among children with a younger sister.
  • Findings suggest the influence of siblings are more complex than simply having a sibling or not.

Keywords: gender; perspective taking; sibling relationships; social competence

Age-related differences in the relation between the home numeracy environment and numeracy skills

Rebecca J. Thompson (Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Purdue University),
Amy R. Napoli (Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Purdue University),
David J. Purpura (Department of Human Development and Family Studies, Purdue University),

Paper Highlights

  • The relation between specific home numeracy environment practices and children's numeracy skills were compared across preschool aged children (3 and 4 years old). 
  • Complex home numeracy environment practices were related to numeracy skills of older children, but basic home numeracy environment practices were only related to numeracy skills with younger children until controlling for parental education.
  •  More targeted measurement of the home numeracy environment may be needed in order to fully assess its impact on the development of mathematics cognition.
Keywords: mathematics development; numeracy; preschool; home numeracy environment

Link to article

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Infant and Child Development, most downloaded articles 2016

Happy New Year to you all! Looking back on 2016, here are some of our most downloaded papers from 2016.

The following papers had the greatest number of downloads of papers that were published in our 2016 issues, or which first became available in Early View last year:-

Differences in Theory of Mind and Pretend Play Associations in Children with and Without Specific Language Impairment
Jester, M., & Johnson, C. J. (2016).

Keywords: Theory of Mind; speciļ¬c language impairment; pretend play; preschoolers

The Role of Parent Education and Parenting Knowledge in Children's Language and Literacy Skills among White, Black, and Latino Families.

Rowe, M. L., Denmark, N., Harden, B. J., & Stapleton, L. M.
Keywords: parenting knowledge; language development; literacy; parent beliefs; parent education

Biased Facial Expression Interpretation in Shy Children.

Kokin, J., Younger, A., Gosselin, P., & Vaillancourt, T. 

Keywords: shyness; social anxiety; facial expressions; emotion;interpretation bias; social withdrawal

‘Mommy, You are the Princess and I am the Queen’: How Preschool Children's Initiation and Language Use During Pretend Play Relate to Complexity. 
Melzer, D. K., & Palermo, C. A.
Keywords: pretend play; preschool; parent–child interaction; complexity; mental state language

Maternal Responsive–didactic Caregiving in Play Interactions with 10‐month‐olds and Cognitive Development at 18 months 
Mermelshtine, R., & Barnes, J.

Keywords: mother–infant interaction; contingent response; didactic care giving; infant cognitive development; infant object play

Moral Evalutions of Lying for One's Own GroupFu, G., Luo, Y. C., Heyman, G. D., Wang, B., Cameron, C. A., & Lee, K. 
Click here to read Gail Heyman's blog post on this paper
Keywords: blue lies; collectivism; honesty; dishonesty; moral judgements

Infant Do, Infant See: The Role of Feedback to Infant Behavior for the Understanding of Self and Others (introduction to special issue)
Henning, A., & Zmyj, N.

Infant Emotion Regulation Strategy Moderates Relations between Self‐Reported Maternal Depressive Symptoms and Infant HPA Activity
Khoury, J. E., Gonzalez, A., Levitan, R., Masellis, M., Basile, V., & Atkinson, L.
Keywords: infant; cortisol; emotion regulation; maternal depressive symptoms; toy frustration

Preferences for ‘Gender‐typed’ Toys in Boys and Girls Aged 9 to 32 Months
Todd, B. K., Barry, J. A., & Thommessen, S. A.

Appears in the APA monitor In Brief October 2016
Further coverage of this paper on BPS Digest, The Daily Wire, The Daily Mail, and Science Daily
Keywords: sex differences; toy preference; play; infancy; gender differences

Social Competence at the Playground: Preschoolers During Recess
Veiga, G., Leng, W., Cachucho, R., Ketelaar, L., Kok, J. N., Knobbe, A., Neto, C., & Rieffe, C. 
Read a post on this paper here and see here to access some of the extensive coverage of this paper
Keywords: free play; peer interactions; preschool; observation; radio frequency identification

More than Just the Breadwinner: The Effects of Fathers' Parenting Stress on Children's Language and Cognitive Development
Harewood, T., Vallotton, C. D., & Brophy‐Herb, H. 

Appears in the APA monitor In Brief October 2016, and further coverage of this paper on Science Daily
Keywords: parenting stress; fathers; father involvement; cognitive development; language development; gender differences

Comparing Fathers' Physical and Toy Play and Links to Child Behaviour: An Exploratory Study
St George, J., Fletcher, R., & Palazzi, K.
Click here to read Jennifer St George's blog post about this work 
Keywords: father–child interaction; rough-and-tumble play; strengths and difficulties, self-regulation; social-emotional competence

We also think it's interesting to see which papers are still getting a lot of interest years after publication. Below is a list of our most downloaded papers in 2016, regardless of their publication year:-

Preferences for ‘Gender‐typed’ Toys in Boys and Girls Aged 9 to 32 Months
Todd, B. K., Barry, J. A., & Thommessen, S. A.

Keywords: sex differences; toy preference; play; infancy; gender differences

Empathy, Perspective Taking and Prosocial Behaviour: The Importance of Parenting Practices
Farrant, B. M., Devine, T. A., Maybery, M. T., & Fletcher, J.
Keywords: pro-social behaviour; maternal empathic concern; em-pathy; emotional perspective taking; cognitive perspective taking;theory of mind

Relationships among parenting practices, parental stress, child behaviour, and children's social‐cognitive development
Guajardo, N. R., Snyder, G., & Petersen, R.
Keywords: parenting; theory of mind; emotion; parental stress

Infant Developmental Outcomes: A Family Systems Perspective
Parfitt, Y., Pike, A., & Ayers, S.
Keywords: infant development; parental mental health; parent–infant relationship; couple’s relationship; infant characteristics

Parental Personality, Relationship Stress, and Child Development: A Stress Generation Perspective
Tang, E., Luyten, P., Casalin, S., & Vliegen, N.
Keywords:child development; personality; stress generation; relationship stress; family intervention

Children with Imaginary Companions Focus on Mental Characteristics When Describing Their Real‐Life Friends
Davis, P. E., Meins, E., & Fernyhough, C.
Keywords: imaginary companions; friendship; mind-mindedness;theory of mind; peer relationships

Evidence for Website Claims about the Benefits of Teaching Sign Language to Infants and Toddlers with Normal Hearing
Nelson, L. H., White, K. R., & Grewe, J.
Keywords: baby sign language; sign language for hearing toddlers

How Preschoolers' Social–Emotional Learning Predicts Their Early School Success: Developing Theory‐Promoting, Competency‐Based Assessments
Denham, S. A., Bassett, H. H., Zinsser, K., & Wyatt, T. M.
Keywords: self-regulation; emotion knowledge; social problem solving; social–emotional behaviour; classroom adjustment; academic readiness

How specific is the relation between executive function and theory of mind? Contributions of inhibitory control and working memory
Carlson, S. M., Moses, L. J., & Breton, C.

Keywords: executive function; inhibitory control; theory of mind

Differences in Theory of Mind and Pretend Play Associations in Children with and Without Specific Language Impairment
Jester, M., & Johnson, C. J.
Keywords: child development; personality; stress generation;relationship stress; family intervention