Gender stereotyping begins as young as 3 months

Gender stereotyping begins as young as 3 months

Submitted by alvin on Fri, 2016-04-22 14:12 Washington D.C: A new study has found that gender stereotypes take root way too early. Adults attribute degrees of femininity and masculinity to babies based on the pitch of their cries, as shown by the study by researchers from the University of Sussex, the University of Lyon/Saint-Etienne and Hunter College City University of New York. The study found that adults often wrongly assume babies with higher-pitched cries are female and lower pitched cries are male. When told the gender of the baby, adults make assumptions about the degree of masculinity or femininity of the baby, based on the pitch of the cry. The study also showed that adults generally assume that babies with higher-pitched cries are in more intense discomfort. Men who are told that a baby is a boy tend to perceive greater discomfort in the cry of the baby. This is likely to be due to an ingrained stereotype that boy babies should have low-pitched cries. There was no equivalent finding for women, or for men's perception of baby girls. Despite no actual difference in pitch between the voices of girls and boys before puberty, the study found that adults make gender assumptions about babies based on their cries. Dr David Reby said that they now plan to investigate if such stereotypical attributions affect the way babies are treated and whether parents inadvertently choose different clothes, toys and activities based on the pitch of their babies' cries. Prof. Nicolas Mathevon commented that the potential implications for parent-child interactions and for the development of children's gender identity are fascinating and we intend to look into this further. The researchers recorded the spontaneous cries of 15 boys and 13 girls who were on average four months old. The team also synthetically altered the pitch of the cries while leaving all other features of the cries unchanged to ensure they could isolate the impact of the pitch alone. The participating adults were a mixture of parents and non-parents. The research is published in the journal BMC Psychology. (ANI)