Fathers Are More Attentive To Their Daughters

May 26, 2017

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Daddy's little girl is more than just a saying, it is a way of life. An Emory University experiment concluded that fathers of girls responded much quicker and are more attentive to their daughters than their sons.  After studying 52 families with toddlers they found a significant difference in how fathers interact with their children, including a more openness about their own feelings when talking with their daughters.  While describing their daughter, dads in the study used words like, “cry”, “tears” and “lonely” when speaking to their daughters.  When speaking to their sons, fathers engaged in more rough-and-tumble play and used more achievement-related words such as “proud” and “win”. While their actions were unintentional the study concludes that fathers may actually be less attentive to the emotional needs of boys, which may help girls to be more understanding as adults and harm boys future mental health. The study also viewed brain waves of dads when looking at pictures of their children.  Three photos of each child; one of them smiling, one neutral and one sad.  Fathers had the biggest response to images of their daughters smiling, while those who had boys reacted most strongly to pics of their sons looking neutrally at the camera. Scientists aren't quite sure if these reactions are hard-wired biological response or simply parents following social expectations. The study has been published in the Journal Behavioral Neuroscience.


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