Early gender differences in spatial and social skills and their relations to play and parental socialization in children from Hong Kong
Publication in refereed journal

Times Cited
Altmetrics Information

Other information
AbstractChildren's play preferences are highly gender-typed. At the same time, much research revolves around spatial and social skills that sometimes show male and female advantages, respectively. There is evidence that play with masculine toys is associated with better spatial skills and emerging evidence suggests that play with feminine toys is associated with better social skills. However, several research gaps limit current knowledge on these aspects of gender development. First, the study of childhood gender development has been largely Eurocentric; second, the link between gender-typed play and social skills development is not well supported. We tested 644 5-year-old Hong Kong Chinese children on five gender-typed skills, play preferences, and parental gender socialization. The pattern of gender differences was remarkably similar to those in the West. Boys preferred masculine toys more than girls and were better at mental transformation and targeting accuracy, while girls preferred feminine (and neutral) toys more than boys and were better at empathy and were less aggressive, although there was no significant gender difference in comforting skill. There was little evidence that these gender differences varied with socioeconomic status (parental income and education). Play correlated with some outcomes in expected ways. This is in contrast to parents' gender socialization, which showed some expected differences by child gender but minimally correlated with children's skills. These findings shed light on the generalizability of current knowledge on early gender differences and may facilitate gender developmental research outside the West. Although the study did not test the direction of effects, they substantiate the growing discourse on gender-typed play as an important learning mechanism.
Acceptance Date01/02/2019
All Author(s) ListWong W. I, Yeung S. P
Journal nameArchives of Sexual Behavior
Detailed descriptionWong W. I: corresponding author
Yeung S. P: student supervisee
Volume Number48
Issue Number5
Pages1589 - 1602
LanguagesEnglish-United States

Last updated on 2021-19-09 at 00:06