Do 10-Year old children stereotype males as more intellectually brilliant than females? Testing the early-reversal model of own- versus opposite-gender sex stereotyping

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Abstract

Do 10-year old children stereotype males as more intellectually brilliant than females? Testing the early-reversal model of own- versus opposite-gender sex stereotyping.A stereotype that males are more brilliant than females may not only reduce women's interest in stereotypically intellectually-demanding roles, but also impair their performance, both of which may further exacerbate gender gaps in STEM and other related subjects (Leslie, Cimpian, Meyer and Freeland, 2015). At the other end of the spectrum, stereotypes about extremely low ability can be equally damaging (). In a recent Science article, Bian, Leslie and Cimpian (2017) proposed that earlier children acquire negative stereotypes, the more harmful they may be. They reported that 6-year olds showed stereotyping of boys as more likely to be brilliant ("really, really smart") compared to girls (Wald X2=8.10, p=0.004). Here, we tested this prediction in 200 10-year olds, but using identical methodology, but also testing gendered-prejudice against low-ability.In total, 227 pupils (118 males, 109 females) were recruited from a public primary school in Harbin, China (mean age =10.09, SD=0.52). Each child was presented with 3 stories describing an adult of unspecified gender. The first 2 stories were translated from Study 1 in Bian et al. (2017): Story 1 described a really, really smart person, while story 2 described a really, really nice person. A novel low-ability stereotype story was created by re-writing story 1 to describe a "really, really stupid" person. Participants read each story and then chose from 2 male and 2 female target photos the one most likely to be the person described in the story. Items and responses were counter-balanced. With respect to the hypotheses about the brilliance stereotyping, 79 boys and 39 females identified a male target as most likely to be brilliant, compared to 39 boys and 70 girls who chose a female target. The hypothesis that both males and females exhibit a stereotyped bias toward males as most likely to be brilliant was tested using a binomial general linear model (glm in R). No support was found (z =XX, p = 0.817). This held whether or not age was controlled. By contrast, the alternative hypothesis, that both boys and girls favour their own-gender for brilliance gained strong support (z = , <.001). Regarding niceness, both boys and girls (82 and 86 respectively) primarily selected a female target (P IN HERE). There was no evidence for a sex difference in this bias (p=0.164)????. Finally, a majority of both boys (76) and girls (92) chose a male target as the really, really stupid person (p < 0.001).We did replicate the finding that females are stereotyped as extremely nice. However a stereotyped belief of males as more brilliant was not supported (children associated brilliance with their own gender), and evidence of prejudice against males regarding mental disability was found.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 14 Feb 2018
Event30th Association for Psychological Science (APS) Annual Convention, 2018 San Francisco - Hilton Union Square San Francisco, San Francisco, United States
Duration: 24 Apr 202027 May 2020
Conference number: 30
https://www.psychologicalscience.org/conventions/annual/2018-online-planner

Conference

Conference30th Association for Psychological Science (APS) Annual Convention, 2018 San Francisco
Abbreviated titleAPS 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco
Period24/04/2027/05/20
Internet address

Keywords

  • sex differences
  • Education
  • STEM
  • child development
  • interests

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