Sex-Typed Play in Opposite-Sex Twins

Brenda A. Henderson, Sheri A. Berenbaum

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51 Scopus citations


To examine possible prenatal hormonal influences on sex-typed play, we compared girls with a boy co-twin to girls with a girl co-twin and girls with an older brother. In opposite-sex dizygotic twin pairs, the uterine environment may allow transfer of testosterone from the male to the female fetus. Singletons with an older brother provide a control for shared social environment. Girls aged 3 to 8 years (N = 91) were observed playing with sex-typed toys, and mothers completed questionnaires about the child's activities. Contrary to expectation, girls with a boy co-twin did not spend more time playing with boys' toys than girls with a girl co-twin or girls with an older brother. Although these results might suggest that normal variations in hormones do not contribute to within-sex variations in childhood activities, they combine with other work to suggest factors to consider in evaluating hormonal influences on human behavior, including level and timing of exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-123
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental psychobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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