A study by Japanese universities found that children associate the traits of kindness and intelligence with traditional gender stereotypes of femininity and masculinity from preschool age to early elementary school.

The findings, published early this month in the journal Scientific Reports, looked at 565 Japanese boys and girls and discovered that girls start believing when they are age 4 that they are nicer than boys, while more boys believe they are comparatively smarter by the time they turn 7.

The researchers, whose report was published online on Oct. 11, sought to discover the origin of stereotypes in Japan, which the World Economic Forum this year placed 116th out of 146 countries in its gender gap report.