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Mothers "Love" Daughters More, Language Study

Update Date: Nov 12, 2014 08:25 PM EST
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Mothers "love" daughters more than sons, according to a new study on emotional expression.

Researchers found that mothers say significantly more emotionally charged words with daughters than with sons.

After analyzing mother and child dialogue, researchers from the University of Surrey found that conversations mothers have with their daughters tend to contain more emotional words and content than the exchanges they have with their sons.

However, mothers use more emotional words than fathers. The findings also revealed that daughters scored higher than sons on emotional literacy with words like "happy", "sad" and "worried".

Researchers believe the latest findings suggest that parents are unconsciously reinforcing gender stereotypes to their children, and could explain why women tend to be more emotionally intelligent than their male counterparts.

The latest study involved 65 Spanish mothers and fathers and their four and six year-old children. Participants were asked to complete storytelling and conversational tasks while researchers assessed their use of language.

"Our study suggests that parent-child conversations are gendered, with mothers talking more expressively to their daughters than their sons," lead author Dr. Harriet Tenenbaum from the University of Surrey said in a news release.

"This inevitably leads to girls growing up more attuned to their emotions then boys. Having this edge to be more expressive and cope well with emotions may matter more than ever in the workplace, as more companies are starting to recognize the advantages of high emotional intelligence when it comes to positions such as sales, teams and leadership," Tenenbaum concluded.

The findings are published in The British Journal of Developmental Psychology.

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