Gender stereotypes about intellectual ability emerge early and influence children's interests

Lin Bian, Sarah Jane Leslie, Andrei Cimpian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Common stereotypes associate high-level intellectual ability (brilliance, genius, etc.) with men more than women. These stereotypes discourage women's pursuit of many prestigious careers; that is, women are underrepresented in fields whose members cherish brilliance (such as physics and philosophy). Here we show that these stereotypes are endorsed by, and influence the interests of, children as young as 6. Specifically, 6-year-old girls are less likely than boys to believe that members of their gender are "really, really smart." Also at age 6, girls begin to avoid activities said to be for children who are "really, really smart." These findings suggest that gendered notions of brilliance are acquired early and have an immediate effect on children's interests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)389-391
Number of pages3
JournalScience (New York, N.Y.)
Volume355
Issue number6323
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 27 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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