File photo: A study has shown women are more likely to buy presents for their daughters – while men tend to favour their sons. Picture: Pixabay

London - It’s always been assumed that mothers are more likely to spoil their sons than their daughters.

But it seems the notion of being a Mummy’s boy or a Daddy’s girl is wide off the mark.

A study has shown women are more likely to buy presents for their daughters – while men tend to favour their sons.

And when asked who they would give money to in their will, fathers gave more cash to the boys while mothers were more generous to the girls.

Research suggests that parents will be more benevolent to children of their own sex because they identify more with them. In the US study, more than 90 percent of parents said they treated their children equally whatever their gender. But researchers found that most mothers and fathers unconsciously favoured the same sex – especially when it came to spending money.

In an experiment, adults with a son and a daughter were asked to buy a surprise gift for either. Mothers were more likely to choose something for their daughter, while fathers indulged a son.

Lambrianos Nikiforidis, an assistant professor of marketing at the State University of New York, Oneonta, said: "Although the idea that parents might play favourites is not new – we’ve all heard adages such as 'like father, like son' or 'Daddy’s girl' – most parents strongly deny favouring one child over the other."

However, he added: "Even though parents say they do not have a favourite, they also admit they do not actively track investment in each child, which leaves room for bias."