If your six-year-old daughter is shying away from playing smarter games, it may be because she may have begun to associate brilliance or intellectual ability with boys and less with her own gender, a notion that may also affect her choices of activity, claim researchers.
The findings showed that as a result of early gender stereotypes girls as young as six-year-old are more likely to avoid activities said to require brilliance, creating life-long impact.
‘Even though the stereotype equating brilliance with men doesn't match reality, it might nonetheless take a toll on girls' aspirations and on their eventual careers.’
"Even though the stereotype equating brilliance with men doesn't match reality, it might nonetheless take a toll on girls' aspirations and on their eventual careers," said Andrei Cimpian, professor at the New York University (NYU).
"Our society tends to associate brilliance with men more than with women and this notion pushes women away from jobs that are perceived to require brilliance," Bian added. For the study, detailed in the journal Science, the team tested children ranging from five to seven years in a series of experiments.
In one experiment, the children heard a story about a person who was "really, really smart" and were then asked to guess which of four unfamiliar adults (two men, two women) was the story's protagonist. The results showed that girls aged 6 and 7 were significantly less likely than boys to associate brilliance with their gender.
Another experiment to assess whether these gender perceptions shaped children's interests, revealed that girls were significantly less interested than boys in the game for smart children, the researchers said.