Messages about brilliance undermine women's interest in educational and professional opportunities

Lin Bian, Sarah Jane Leslie, Mary C. Murphy, Andrei Cimpian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Pervasive cultural stereotypes associate brilliance with men, not women. Given these stereotypes, messages suggesting that a career requires brilliance may undermine women's interest. Consistent with this hypothesis, linking success to brilliance lowered women's (but not men's) interest in a range of educational and professional opportunities introduced via hypothetical scenarios (Experiments 1-4). It also led women more than men to expect that they would feel anxious and would not belong (Experiments 2-5). These gender differences were explained in part by women's perception that they are different from the typical person in these contexts (Experiments 5 and 6). In sum, the present research reveals that certain messages-in particular, those suggesting that brilliance is essential to success-may contribute to the gender gaps that are present in many fields.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

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gender-specific factors
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Keywords

  • Anxiety
  • Belonging
  • Gender stereotypes
  • Prototype matching
  • Self-efficacy
  • Stereotype threat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Messages about brilliance undermine women's interest in educational and professional opportunities. / Bian, Lin; Leslie, Sarah Jane; Murphy, Mary C.; Cimpian, Andrei.

In: Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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