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Baby Boys Prefer Dolls Over Cars and Trucks

Baby sleeping while embracing a plush doll
Photograph by Getty Images/Wavebreak Media

Why do we buy cars and trucks for baby boys? A lot of it probably has to do simply with social understandings: Boys like trucks and girls like dolls. But maybe we're looking at it all wrong? A new study has proof that we've been giving boys the wrong toys, all along.

Researchers at the University of Western Sydney studied how long babies between 4 and 5 months old held their gaze on photos of humans, dolls, cars and stoves. The results proved that at such a young age, both boys and girls prefer dolls over more typically male-associated objects like cars.

While past studies have found that, by age 3, boys develop a preference for the more gender-specific toys, little research has been done on the years between 4 months and 3 years old. In addition to pinpointing a certain time when things change, researchers are also curious to find out what exactly influences the shift—nature or nurture?

The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Child Psychology.

So what will you buy the next time you go shopping for a gift for a baby boy? Perhaps by buying things other than cars and trucks, we can change the perception that dolls are "girly."

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