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Title:The roots of gender gaps: investigating the development of gender stereotypes about intelligence
Author(s):Bian, Lin
Director of Research:Cimpian, Andrei
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Baillargeon, Renée
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Leslie, Sarah-Jane; Pomerantz, Eva; Cohen, Dov
Department / Program:Psychology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Ability beliefs
Abstract:Women are consistently underrepresented in certain careers—not just in mathematics and science but also in fields such as philosophy and music composition. In my dissertation, I focus on a recently discovered factor that may contribute to this imbalance: Women are culturally stereotyped as being less intellectually gifted than men, and as a result they may face a number of obstacles when pursuing degrees and professions that are portrayed as requiring intellectual giftedness (Leslie, Cimpian, Meyer, & Freeland, 2015). Prior research on this potential mechanism has focused exclusively on adults; thus, little is known about its developmental roots. The earlier children acquire the notion that brilliance is a male quality, the stronger its influence may be on their aspirations. Our present research shows that, by the age of 6, girls are less likely than boys to believe that members of their gender are “really, really smart” – a child-friendly way of referring to brilliance (Studies 1 and 2). Also at 6, girls begin to shy away from novel activities said to be for children who are “really, really smart” (Studies 3 and 4). Moreover, this stereotype undermines both adults’ and children’s evaluation of females’ capabilities for activities portrayed as requiring brilliance (Studies 5 and 6). These studies speak to the early acquisition of cultural ideas about brilliance and gender, and to the immediate impact that these stereotyped notions have on people’s interests and evaluations.
Issue Date:2017-04-11
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Lin Bian
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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