Study: Fathers favor sons, mothers favor daughters, across economic scales

Nov. 13 (UPI) — A recent study seems to confirm what many people already assumed: Mothers prefer their daughters, while men favor their sons.

A new study puts forth data on the long-held belief of parental gender bias

Researchers performed an online survey that asked participants to complete a task that brought on feelings of relative poverty or relative wealth.

Then, the researchers assessed the participant’s partiality for sons or daughters by testing what gender preferences parents would prefer to adopt, what gender-based charity they would prefer to donate money to and what gender ratio would they prefer their own offspring come from.

“Our research may help people be better parents if we become aware of our unconscious biases towards different kinds of children,” senior author Lee Cronk, senior author of the study and professor in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University, said in a press release.

The study springs from the 1973 Trivers-Willard hypothesis, which theorized that rich parents would favor and give preferential treatment to sons, while poor parents would favor and give more attention to daughters.

The new study didn’t do much to hold up the Trivers-Willard hypothesis. But it did show that mothers have a strong preference for their daughters, and fathers had weaker, yet still noticeable, preferences for their son.

“These results may also have implications for rising income inequality and intergenerational social mobility,” the study reads. “A recent study using the tax records of 40 million Americans between 1996 and 2012 showed that the single best predictor of lower intergenerational social mobility was having a single or divorced parent. Because most of these single parents are females, and females prefer daughters, we might expect even lower reduced intergenerational mobility for the sons of these single mothers.”

The gender biases study appears in the journal Scientific Reports.

Source: Study: Fathers favor sons, mothers favor daughters, across economic scales

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