Early androgens, activity levels and toy choices of children in the second year of life. Academic Article uri icon


  • The hypothesis that stronger preferences for active play styles contribute to stronger preferences for male-typical toys was examined in 47 boys and 37 girls at 19-months of age using ambulatory monitoring technology (i.e., actigraphy) to measure activity levels during contact with male-typical, female-typical, and gender-neutral toys. Digit ratios and salivary testosterone levels were measured earlier in children at 3-4 months of age. There were no significant sex differences in digit ratios, salivary testosterone levels, or overall activity levels during toy play. In contrast, contact times showed large sex differences in infants' toy preferences. The within-sex comparisons showed that infant girls had significant preferences for female-typical toys over male-typical toys, whereas infant boys showed only a small preference for male-typical toys over female-typical toys. More male-typical digit ratios in early infancy predicted higher activity counts during toy play and less female-typical toy preferences in girls. However, in both sexes, activity levels were unrelated to toy preferences suggesting that factors other than activity level preferences contribute to the early emergence of gender-linked toy preferences.

published proceedings

  • Horm Behav

altmetric score

  • 18.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Alexander, G. M., & Saenz, J.

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Alexander, Gerianne M||Saenz, Janet

publication date

  • January 2012