Stereotypes may affect female math ability

Jan 24, 2007

A U.S. study suggests implicit stereotypes and gender identification may affect female math performance.

The research by psychologists Amy Kiefer of the University of California-San Francisco and Denise Sekaquaptewa of the University of Michigan might provide insight as to why, despite recent progress, women remain underrepresented in mathematics-related professions.

Kiefer and Sekaquaptewa point to an interaction between women's underlying "implicit" stereotypes and their gender identification as sources for the underperformance and lowered perseverance in mathematical fields.

Studying undergraduates enrolled in an introductory calculus course, the researchers discovered women possessing strong implicit gender stereotypes and likely to identify themselves as feminine performed worse relative to their female counterparts who did not possess such stereotypes and who were less likely to identify with traditionally female characteristics. The same underperforming females were also the least inclined to pursue a math-based career.

The researchers say their findings shed light on why women are less likely to complete a major in mathematics in college, pursue math-intensive careers such as computer science or engineering, and are more than twice as likely as men to drop out of such courses.

The study appears in the January issue of Psychological Science.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Inadequate mental health care for blacks with depression and diabetes, high blood pressure

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Google made failed bid for Spotify

2 hours ago

Internet titan Google tried last year to buy streaming music service Spotify but backed off for reasons including a whopping price tag, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Thieves got into 1K StubHub accounts

3 hours ago

(AP)—Cyber thieves got into more than 1,000 StubHub customers' accounts and fraudulently bought tickets for events through the online ticket reseller, a law enforcement official and the company said Tuesday.

Microsoft CEO sees 'bold' plan as 4Q tops Street

3 hours ago

(AP)—Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella painted an upbeat vision of the future Tuesday, saying that the next version of Windows will be unified across screens of all sizes and that two money-losing units—Nokia ...

Recommended for you

Gender disparities in cognition will not diminish

11 hours ago

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, investigated the extent to which improvements in living conditions and educational opportunities over a person's life affect cognitive abilities and th ...

Facial features are the key to first impressions

11 hours ago

A new study by researchers in the Department of Psychology at the University of York shows that it is possible to accurately predict first impressions using measurements of physical features in everyday images of faces, such ...

User comments : 0