A scientific study confirms the popular belief that parents treat their daughters differently than their sons.

Marta Ortega, the right eye of papa Amancio

There is a very common belief about the differences in the relationship that establish the fathers with their children, depending on whether it is boys or girls. However, until now no study had been conducted to verify how much truth is behind this fact.

Those responsible for doing so have been a team of researchers from the Emory university, who have analyzed the relationship of 52 parents with their children, obtaining conclusions that have recently been published in Behavorial Neuroscience.

Outside the lab

The biggest obstacle to these types of studies is usually that the people who participate in them act as they think they are expected to do, falsifying unconsciously the results.

For this reason, these researchers have decided to take the tests out of the laboratory, with the help of a device that was attached to the participants belt, activating itself randomly during fifty seconds each nine minutes, in a period of 48 hours, which were developed both in Work days like in weekend.

In addition, parents were also instructed to leave the devices charging in the children’s room, to capture any interaction they had with them during the night.

A clear difference

Once the results of the recordings were collected, it was observed that, indeed, the treatment of parents with sons and daughters was very different, from the vocabulary used until emotions.

In fact, the parent’s belief was confirmed over protector, who unconsciously pays more attention to the needs of his daughters, compared to those whose offspring are male.

In addition, they themselves were much more open when it came to show your feelings with their daughters, while the parents of children were more surly in that sense.

The causes of this imbalance have not been analyzed in the study, although the researchers believe that they are the result of an unconscious use of the unwritten social norms about gender, which pose the woman as a person vulnerable, in need of protection.

In fact, no evolutionary cause was shown to have led to different behavior in dealing with children.

Reaction to images

The second part of the experiment consisted of carrying out a fMRI of the parent’s brain while they were looking at a series of photographs in which a unknown adult person, well a boy who was not his son O well one of his little ones, who could show the face of happiness, neutrality or sadness.

Interestingly, the areas of the brain associated with reward, the regulation of emotions and the prosecution visual were noticeably more activated when parents looked at photos of their happy daughters, while in the case of those who had children, contrary to expectations, the images of neutrality did.

As for the sad faces, they did not lead to different reactions in any of the groups.

The final part of this work would be to check if this different form in the treatment of boys and girls makes some difference in the behavior of the children in the adulthood; since, for example, the possibility arises that the emotional restraint in children it can lead to psychological problems such as depression when they get older.

Certainly the study does not say anything that is not known, but confirming it and launching it into the scientific scene is a good way to make society aware of another of the many ways in which they are unconsciously done. unnecessary gender divisions.