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'Kids are genetically programmed to pick toys'

world Updated: Jun 29, 2009 16:58 IST
PTI
Bob the Builder

Ever wondered why boys pick toys like 'Bob the Builder' over 'Barbie' dolls? Well, children are genetically programmed to do so, say researchers.

A new study, by the Texas A&M University, has revealed that biological differences, and not social pressures, dictate which toys children like to play with, British newspaper the Daily Mail reported.

According to the researchers, one theory is that these innate preferences are linked to traditional male and female functions dating back to the dawn of the species.

Boys are thought to prefer playing with cars and balls because they involve moving objects and rough and tumble play. These activities may be linked to their ancestors’ skills in hunting for food and finding a mate.

Girls, on the other hand, are thought to like red or pink toys because a preference for those colours enhanced abilities to nurture infants, aiding their family’s survival.

“The findings from the present research are consistent with the hypothesis that males and females may show different patterns of attention to toys because they are attracted to different visual characteristics of objects.

“It seems unlikely that object interests in infants younger than nine months of age are a result of internal motivation to conform to external referents of gender role behaviour,” the researchers said.