A recent study suggests that mothers tend to prefer daughters and fathers prefer sons. Designed to test the impact of parental resources on offspring sex preferences, the research showed that women prefer and are more likely to invest in their daughters and men in their sons.
Specifically, the authors sought to test the Trivers-Willard hypothesis which predicts that parents in good conditions will bias investment towards sons, while parents in poor conditions will bias investment towards daughters.
The researchers tested the Trivers-Willard effect with an online experiment by measuring implicit and explicit psychological preferences and behaviourally implied preferences for sons or daughters both as a function of their social and economic status and in the aftermath of a priming task designed to make participants feel wealthy or poor.
The results of the research help to make sense of the often contradictory findings on offspring sex preferences. The effects of parental condition and status, competing for genetic interests between males and females, economic constraints on families, and the effects of cultural practices all conspire to complicate the evolutionary outcomes of parental investment strategies.
First Published: Nov 07, 2018 13:07 IST