Boys live up to expectations of behaving badly


Baby boys may behave more badly than girls because mothers expect them to be more difficult, the British Psychological Society was told yesterday, writes Glenda Cooper.

The mothers' belief that boys are more troublesome may be linked to their developing more behavioural problems than girls. Research presented at the society's developmental section conference in Oxford found mothers were more sensitive towards girl babies, while boys experienced more restrictions.

Looking at 55 babies at three, five, eight and 14 months, Liz Connors, from the University of Central Lancashire, studied the mothers caring for their children and their responses to their baby crying. Boys were fussier than girls as early as three months and were perceived as more temperamentally difficult. But male babies who had bonded well with their mother were more adaptable and less unpredictable. Few differences were seen in the behaviour of girl and boy babies themselves, except that girls tended to show more active play by the age of 14 months.

But when both sexes showed difficult behaviour, mothers responded in a negative way to boys and a positive way to girls. At three and a half months, mothers of boys tended to focus their attention on objects rather than themselves, compared with mothers and daughters. Mothers were also more sensitive towards girls.

Dr Connors said the consequences of the less secure attachment between mothers and sons could lead to "a greater likelihood of boys developing behavioural problems later in life".

The Society was told that soldiers of the future will not need heavy radios, navigation aids and power packs. In 30 years they will have chips in their heads which work out their location from positioning satellites and be able to communicate directly with their command posts - all the while powered by their shoes.

Utah University researchers have already given rudimentary vision to people with retinal damage by linking chips and cameras to their brains with wireless links. Peter Thomas, professor of computing at the University of the West of England, said such advances meant creation of cyborgs (humans integrated with microprocessors) was not far off. "The first use will be in the military and then the disabled and then people who want them by choice."

"Wearable computers" are already reality. "The Massachusetts Institute of Technology has a system which has all the computing components you need for a PC but which you can wear."

In future, we will not have to carry a laptop or log into a computer on our desk, said the professor. "The idea is that you carry the computing power that you need on your body."

This will lead to the idea of computers as fashion: "In Hong Kong, people all have mobile phones and pagers, and the two are connected. Philips in the Netherlands is developing T-shirts with built-in circuits which can play music, so you might put on your hip-hop T-shirt one day and your heavy-metal T-shirt the next."

The shirts pass further tests - they are washable and draw power from body movement, with piezo-electric inserts in shoes which generate power with every step.

"It would mean that rather than having to drop a soldier with a huge backpack, they could go into battle almost naked," said Professor Thomas.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy as ECB finally wield the axe
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas