Effect of Early Androgens Exposure on Childhood Sex-typed to Toy Preferences
Various previous studies found that girl and boys have different type of toys preferences that can be learned through modeling and reinforcement. There are also biological factors that influence the differences between girls and boys. Gonadal hormones highly influence the development of sex differences in terms of behavior and in the brain at different species of animals. There is a unique case where females with genetic disorder congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH) –highly exposed to adrenal androgens before birth –shows a more manly behavior and physical energy with higher spatial ability than normal females. ...view middle of the document...
The parents were asked whether they tried to raise the child according to certain gender or not. The characteristics of the disease that were checked include the age of the child when they were diagnosed with CAH; the child’s genital virilization when he/she was diagnosed; and their salt losing status. As a result, they were all didn’t differ much from each other in terms of characteristic. This was done to reduce confounding variables that might occur from different background of the children.
The independent variables in this study were the CAH girls and boys and unaffected girls and boys as control groups. Although they were not “manipulated” by the experimenter, their condition of high exposure to androgens was believed to be influencing the dependent variable.
The dependent variable is the amount of time spent on each girls’ toys, boys’ toys or neutral toys.
The control variables were the play area size, the number and type of toys, the observation duration, and the age, condition and background of the children were similar.
Materials and Procedure
The toys used were a helicopter, two cars, a fire engine, blocks and Lincoln logs categorized as boys’ toys. The girls’ toys are three dolls, kitchen supplies, a toy telephone, and crayons and paper. The neutral toys that were used as controls are books, two board games, and a jigsaw puzzle. They were arranged in a standard order and placed on the floor.
The children were taken individually to an area (8 ft by 10 ft) in pediatric clinics or homes surrounded by screens. They were told to play with any toys they wanted. The order was random. All processes were recorded for scoring. One session lasted for 12 minutes, the first 10 minutes of each session was scored and the extra 2 minutes if the first 10 minutes cannot be scored because of disturbance.
The toy preferences were measured by calculating the time children spent on each category or type of toys. The time calculated was summed up and put into different girls’ toys, boys’ toys, and neutral toys categories. This was done by 2 raters who were blind to the status of the children (CAH or control) to prevent experimenter bias. The mean score from the 2 raters was used.
The data was analyzed using one-tailed t-test for the sex differences and female CAH-control comparisons for time spent in play with boys' and girls' toys. Two-tailed t-test was used to analyze all comparisons for play with neutral toys and male CAH-control comparisons.
The control boys spent more time playing with boys’ toys compared to the control girls and the control girls spent more time on girls’ toys than control boys. Although their play time on neutral toys were not significantly different.
The amount of time CAH girls spent playing boys’ toys was significantly higher than control girls and they spent less time playing with girls’ toys which was similar to control boys. However, there was no significant difference between...