There is a widespread, not always tacit assumption that a biological gender divide in aptitude for mathematics may underpin why women don’t prosper as well as their male counterparts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. A comprehensive examination of neural development in boys and girls has now effectively refuted this myth, and demonstrated that neural functioning is similar in both sexes. Findings from the study indicate that, at a neurological level, there should be no reason why girls would have less aptitude for maths than boys.
“Science doesn’t align with folk beliefs,” said Jessica Cantlon, PhD, the Ronald J. and Mary Ann Zdrojkowski professor of developmental neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University’s Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, who is senior author of the researchers’ published paper in npj Science of Learning. “We see that children’s brains function similarly regardless of their gender so hopefully we can recalibrate expectations of what children can achieve in mathematics.”
Cantlon said she thinks society and culture are likely steering girls and young women away from STEM fields. … In addition, children often pick up on cues from their parent’s expectations for math abilities.
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