Baby care simulator backfires

This week, the BBC headline Concerns raised over teenage pregnancy ‘magic dolls’ caught my attention. In a course of a programme to prevent teenage pregnancy, Western Australian girls were given baby dolls to look after that simulate the needs of a new baby. The baby simulator programme, which was meant to put girls off having a baby, however, backfired. Rather than making it less likely for girls to have a baby or an abortion by the age of 20, the programme made both more likely.

The only thing I found strange about this finding is that some people apparently thought it would work in the first place! (My husband immediately suggested the idea could have only come from male researchers…). If the experience of looking after a baby would be that off-putting, our species would have gone extinct a long time ago. There is no immediate, measurable benefit of raising a child, and yet it is in our instinct – rewarding enough to keep us all going.

Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution” (Dobzhansky 1973) springs to mind….


About Katharina

Katharina is a prehistoric archaeologist working at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Her main research interests include the archaeology of the human body, gender, identity and personhood as expressed through funerary practices and art. She specialises in the Bronze and Iron Ages of Europe. As a mother of two young boys, she gathered some practical experience in addition to her theoretical interest in motherhood.
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2 Responses to Baby care simulator backfires

  1. Ali Isaac says:

    Clearly the originators of the idea only looked at the negative impact of caring for a baby… they didnt think about any of the positives at all! And yet it seems to me that this could only be an exercise in preparing young girls for motherhood. I bet they all made excellent mothers.


  2. It is more likely to release hormones responsible for bonding especially with teenage girls whose hormones are at their strongest. Just as other mammals can foster babies other than their own. At least this study proved something even if it was not intended. Thanks for posting very interesting.


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