Men find ‘brilliant’ more often than women, according to research
Men are considered “ brilliant ” more often than women, and it’s an “ innate bias ” that hinders gender equality around the world, a new study claims.
Researchers say this ‘brilliant’ stereotype could be linked to more men than women working in areas associated with being brilliant, such as science and technology.
Male and female volunteers of all ages and from 78 countries were shown a series of images linked to men, women and the ‘brilliance’ trait and asked to pair them.
The power of the ‘brilliant’ stereotype rivaled other deep-seated prejudices that link women to certain careers and the family, the study authors found.
Researchers from New York University, the University of Denver and Harvard University said that when asked directly, people did not show this bias.
In direct questioning, subjects had women associated with men more often than men – but an ‘indirect approach’ showed the opposite.
Researchers say this ‘brilliant’ stereotype could be linked to more men than women working in areas associated with being brilliant, such as science and technology. Stock Image
This suggests it is an “implicit bias” and has been shown in children over nine years old – from all 78 countries involved in the study, the authors said.
Study leader Dr. Daniel Storage of the University of Denver said that stereotypes that radiate brilliance as a masculine trait are likely to stop women in prestigious careers.
“Understanding the prevalence and magnitude of this stereotype stereotype gender equality could inform future efforts to increase gender equality in career outcomes,” said co-author Dr. Andrei Cimpian from New York University
Cimpian’s previous work suggested that women are underrepresented in careers where success is believed to depend on a high level of intellectual ability, brilliance or brilliance – especially in science and technology.
Researchers wanted to explain the phenomena from Cimpian’s earlier work.
One of their theories is that women are less encouraged to pursue certain domains because the qualities of brilliance or genius in people’s minds are more associated with men than women.
Alternatively, Cimpian wonders if the atmosphere in certain workplaces is less welcoming to women, preventing them from entering that field.
To learn more about the genius’s perception of brilliance, the team wanted to accurately measure stereotyping – something that’s hard to achieve.
In order to do this accurately, a tough challenge had to be overcome – in the sense that people are often reluctant to admit that they have stereotypes or any kind of bias.
To overcome this obstacle, the researchers used an indirect way to measure the stereotype, namely a tool called the Implicit Association Test (IAT).
The long-standing method is essentially an accelerated sorting task.
It is intended to capture the automatic associations that come to mind between certain traits and certain groups of people when they are exposed to stimuli.
In the study, participants saw stimuli, such as a photo of a woman or the word “ brilliant, ” on a computer screen.
They were then asked to sort them into two categories by pressing the ‘E’ or ‘I’key on their keyboard.
For example, in some studies, participants were asked to press ‘E’ when they saw a stimulus associated with the ‘male’ category or the ‘brilliant’ trait.
In other studies, the researchers changed the sorting rule so that the ‘E’ key was related to the female category or the brilliant trait.
If brilliant is more associated with masculine than feminine in people’s minds, participants will sort the stimuli faster when brilliant and masculine are paired.
The stereotype makes these two concepts appear as if they ‘go together’, as opposed to when brilliant and feminine are paired.
Repeated testing provided consistent evidence for an implicit stereotype that associates brilliance with men more than women, the team revealed.
The power of the ‘brilliant’ stereotype rivaled other deep-seated prejudices that link women to certain careers and the family, the study authors found. Stock Image
This was the case for a series of five studies, including women and men from the US and 78 other countries and girls and boys aged 9 and 10, also from the US.
Criticism was that the team said the magnitude of this stereotype was striking compared to other common gender stereotypes that associate women with certain ‘female jobs’ and family environments.
The team also gauged explicit stereotypes by asking subjects directly if they thought men were more brilliant than women.
Contrary to the implicit results, subjects rejected the idea ‘brilliant’ is a masculine trait when asked directly by the researchers.
The researchers said this finding is consistent with previous findings that showed people were unlikely to give in to stereotyping groups.
They emphasized that this strengthened the importance of measuring such perceptions by subtle means rather than asking directly.
Study author Tessa Charlesworth, a doctoral student at Harvard University, added, “A particularly exciting finding of this work is that people explicitly say they associate women with brilliance.
“But implicit measurements reveal a different story about the more automatic gender stereotypes that come to mind when you think of brilliance.”
The findings are published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.