"If teachers attempt to control boys by subtle means, such as raised eyebrows, and the boys ignore these cues, it may be that they simply are not able to read them and decode them accurately," explained Professor David Skuse, whose team at the Institute of Child Health in London conducted the research.
"It's not that they are being wilfully oppositional," he told the British Association's Festival of Science, which this year is being held in Dublin, Ireland.
The study on 600 children between the ages of six and 17 was actually undertaken to investigate aspects of autism, a predominantly male condition.
The institute hopes eventually to find the genetic factors that lead more boys than girls into this disorder....
The differences at school-entry were specifically to do with the facial expressions tasks.
"At six years, 70% of boys are below the mean for girls; so in other words, 70% of boys are worse than 50% of girls," Professor Skuse explained.
"It means there are a lot of boys at school entry who are very poor at differentiating other people's emotions from their facial expressions.
Males eventually catch up with females, however, so, guys, don't try to use this as an excuse your adult relationship gaffes.