Playful mums – it’s all that testosterone

NZ Herald April 01, 2008

Behavioural differences between mothers of daughters and mothers of sons may be related to testosterone levels rather than sex stereotyping, Auckland University researchers have discovered. The differences between mothers studied in their first interactions with their newborn babies were thought to be a result of stereotyping and conformity to social norms. But Valerie Grant, a medical and health sciences researcher at Auckland University, and her team have found the behavioural differences may be because of varying maternal testosterone levels.

Evolutionary and developmental psychologists have shown that mothers of boys differ from mothers of girls even before their babies are born. Women pregnant with boys are more likely to be anxious or angry during pregnancy, while women carrying girls are more likely to stay calm.

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