Sex differences in children’s toy preferences are thought by many to arise from gender socialization. However, evidence from patients with endocrine disorders suggests that biological factors during early development (e.g., levels of androgens) are influential. In this study, we found that vervet monkeys (Cercopithecus aethiops sabaeus) show sex differences in toy preferences similar to those documented previously in children. The percent of contact time with toys typically preferred by boys (a car and a ball) was greater in male vervets (n = 33) than in female vervets (n = 30) ( P < .05), whereas the percent of contact time with toys typically preferred by girls (a doll and a pot) was greater in female vervets than in male vervets ( P < .01). In contrast, contact time with toys preferred equally by boys and girls (a picture book and a stuffed dog) was comparable in male and female vervets. The results suggest that sexually differentiated object preferences arose early in human evolution, prior to the emergence of a distinct hominid lineage. This implies that sexually dimorphic preferences for features (e.g., color, shape, movement) may have evolved from differential selection pressures based on the different behavioral roles of males and females, and that evolved object feature preferences may contribute to present day sexually dimorphic toy preferences in children.
Jaron Lanier, head of VPL, gave a talk at UIST in 1989 about his experience productizing the data glove for Nintendo games....[H]e said that [the] toy manufacturer was very strictly divided from the very highest levels into the girl's toy division and the boy's toy division. He strongly resisted the glove from becoming either a girls' toy or a boys' toy, but he lost. He said that they immediately categorized it as a boys' toy and put all kinds of black Darth-Vader-ish, sports-car-like paraphernalia all over it to make it appeal to boys. He also said, had it been categorized as a girl's toy, it probably would have been pink and frilly. </blockquote
I bought minnows from a local bait shop and put them in a fish bowl on the kitchen counter where all the kids could see them. We have a two level counter between the kitchen and breakfast area so the kids could not see what was happening on the other side of the counter. Each child rolled a die and what ever number they rolled was the number of minnows they had to eat. My husband (behind the counter) removed the rolled number of minnows from the bowl and procided to "dehead gut and fillet" the fish. We then gave the child a small cup with what they thought were minnows to eat and show a clean tongue. A point was awarded to each who completed the task. The kids were actually given sardines instead of minnows to eat. (Tip: Cover the fish bowl or lower the water level. They kept jumping out of the bowl.) One kid threw up. Funny!!
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