Checking gender bias: Parents and mentors perceive less chess potential in girls

Sophie H. Arnold, April H. Bailey, Wei Ji Ma, Jennifer Shahade, Andrei Cimpian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Girls and women are underrepresented in chess. Here, we explored the role of gender bias in this phenomenon. Specifically, we investigated whether parents and mentors (e.g., coaches) show bias against the female youth players in their lives. Parents and mentors (N = 286; 90.6% men) recruited through the U.S. Chess Federation reported their evaluations of and investment in youth players (N = 654). We found evidence of bias on some, but not all, measures. Most strikingly, parents and mentors thought that female youth players' highest potential chess ratings were on average lower than male players', a bias that was exacerbated among parents and mentors who believed that success in chess requires brilliance. In addition, mentors who endorsed (vs. rejected) this belief also reported that female mentees were more likely to drop out of chess due to low ability. These findings provide the first large-scale evidence of bias against youth female players and hold implications for the role of parents and mentors in other domains that, like chess, are culturally associated with intellectual ability and exhibit substantial gender imbalances (e.g., science and technology). (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2024 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of experimental psychology. General
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • General Psychology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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