Researchers at Rutgers University conducted an experimental online study to test the 1973 Trivers-Willard hypothesis -- which predicted that wealthy parents would prefer and invest in sons, while poor parents would invest and favor daughters.

Lee Cronk, anthropology professor at Rutgers University-New Brunswick said the researchers stumbled upon a complete surprise.

The participants' sex had a strong impact on what sexes they preferred for their offspring. Women strongly prefer daughters and investing in them. M en prefer sons and investing in them.

While further studies need to be done to figure out why this is so, Cronk suggests women feel they are in a better position to help daughters as they grow up -- that they have more to give daughters and benefit them. Men may feel the same way about their sons.

Cronk said the main benefit of the online study now is making parents aware that they may have biases -- giving them a chance to be self-conscious about those tendencies and correct for them.

He said what they found was a complete surprise, the first time it's ever been discovered. But with all scientific studies, Cronk said, the results should be taken with a grain of salt until further studies can be done and further conclusions can be drawn.

The study of gender biases appears in the journal Scientific Reports. Participants in the study were people who responded to a chance to make $2 by taking an online survey, but who didn't know what the topic of the survey would be.

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