Underconfidence in gifted girls

Posted by: JonahSinick

Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/02/14 12:46 PM

The 1996 study Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Mathematical Problem-Solving of Gifted Students found that

Although most students were overconfident about their capabilities, gifted students had more accurate self-perceptions and gifted girls were biased toward underconfidence.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg discusses high potential women being underconfident in her book Lean In.

I've had many gifted female students and classmates/colleagues who have struggled with intellectual insecurity.

Parents sometimes ask me if I have any suggestions for what they might do to help.

For those of you who have daughters, does this sound familiar? If so, are there resources / strategies that you've found helpful for improving their self-confidence?
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/02/14 01:34 PM

Check out resources on "Imposter Syndrome."

This seems to be tied to Socially-prescribed Perfectionism in girls and women.

I've never known a HG+ woman that didn't have at least some of those thoughts, and I've known a fair number of them, working in STEM.

Honestly, exposure to true peers-- and LESS EXPOSURE to toxic social practices in adolescent girl culture, that's what works. There's a reason why I've not necessarily discouraged my DD's natural inclination to hang about with mostly MALE friends as a teen. The girls tend to come with so much drama, so much emotional baggage... so much that is negative for my DD's self-image. It's sad, but I feel like my first duty is to her, not girls as a whole.

I'm convinced that imposter syndrome is a result of girls who try to fit into normative girl culture when it isn't who they actually are. "Being smart" is never part of that normative culture, which is profoundly about appearance and being non-threatening and sexually appealing to others.

One gets into a habit of "pretending" and going along to get along-- and you forget who you ACTUALLY are at some point in those years between 10 and 25.

It's the social and emotional equivalent of foot-binding; learning to navigate a carnival funhouse is so hard that you learn to ignore your own inner voice.

Of course you question your own competence and authenticity at the end of that.
Posted by: Val

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/02/14 01:46 PM

I think that success/achievement in the face of a challenge is a big confidence booster. In gifted kids, a special challenge I that regard is that success at age/grade-level work comes too easily and gifted kids are at risk of shutting down when something is hard.

I try to address this problem by stretching my kids. A recent example related to my daughter is that I do algebra and common core fractions/decimals with her. I teach her the common core stuff as it's meant to be taught to teachers (i.e. using algebraic expressions as parts of proofs). She gets it, and it feels good. My goal with this approach is to teach her how to stop and think when something is hard, rather than reacting by saying, "I can't do this!" because she doesn't see the solution immediately.

She also won the school spelling bee recently (was competing against middle-schoolers, and she's only 9). Learning to spell all those words was a challenge and winning taught her a big lesson about what can happen when she stretches herself and tries hard.
Posted by: JonahSinick

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/02/14 02:07 PM

@ HowlerKarma — Thanks for the thoughts. I wonder how much being in a different peer group might help with this.

@ Val — Yeah, lots of gifted children have the issue that you highlight, and what you're doing sounds good.

There's something to watch out for in connection with competitions. As one passes to progressively more elite competitions, the chances of doing well relative to others go way down. I know of children who scored at the 99th percentile in the American Math Competition, and who qualified for the next round (or the round after that) and were among the weakest participants there and felt inferior as a result. So an early boost in self-confidence coming from involvement with competitions can be followed by a drop later on. Some people take losing in stride and don't have this issue, but it's worth being vigilant toward.
Posted by: kcab

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/02/14 02:19 PM

...
Something I've read recently that is related to this (at least in my brain) is:

Silent Technical Privilege (Slate)

For anyone who doesn't want to read that, the author makes the argument that he has consistently been given the benefit of the doubt regarding computer skills due to his appearance and gender. Sounds like that had an especially large impact when he was a novice learner - he could make mistakes and not be told "maybe this isn't the field for you". That's what I think is relevant to this topic - permission to make mistakes, permission to not know - without it being attributed to gender (or intelligence).

I see the same dynamic in other areas, like basic construction/wood-working.
...
Posted by: NotSoGifted

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/02/14 02:54 PM

DD18 clearly hasn't been in any such study - she thinks very highly of her abilities in all areas (academics, sports, music, etc.) and she always has. We sometimes need to take her down a notch.

DD16 sometimes needs to be reassured of her abilities, but I don't see this being a big problem.

Not really sure yet about DD9 - haven't figured her out yet.
Posted by: Val

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/02/14 04:48 PM

Originally Posted By: JonahSinick
As one passes to progressively more elite competitions, the chances of doing well relative to others go way down. I know of children who scored at the 99th percentile in the American Math Competition, and who qualified for the next round (or the round after that) and were among the weakest participants there and felt inferior as a result. So an early boost in self-confidence coming from involvement with competitions can be followed by a drop later on. Some people take losing in stride and don't have this issue, but it's worth being vigilant toward.


Good point. My daughter takes things in stride. She'll find out if she's going to advance to the regional finals tomorrow, but she doesn't really care either way. She wants to get to DC by 8th grade, but doesn't want to crush herself in the process, so she's decided to work gradually. This means learning lots of root words consistently over the next 3 years, which will allow her to spell and know meanings with much less memorizing. I even found a PDF of a Sanskrit roots book on the web. It was published in 1885. Oh, how I love the web.

The semi-finals of the regional spelling bee were, well, interesting. I could feel the competitive stress among some of the parents and DD felt it among the kids. She was at a loss to understand it, and it was a big part of her decision to take the long view: "I'm doing this to have fun and learn stuff, not to get crazy about WINNING!!! If I get to the regional finals this year, that will be a giant step, but I'm happy with a big step to the semi-finals."

Dude has said that the only way to win the game is not to play it. I agree, and I work hard to help my kids understand what this idea means.
Posted by: JonahSinick

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/02/14 08:22 PM

@ Val — I hesitate to question the optimality of your daughter's choice of activities without solicitation & hope you'll forgive me if it's unwelcome, but have you and her thought about whether spelling bee preparation is the best use of her time?

Training for spelling bees may build discipline, constitutes cognitive exercise, and if done in the way that she's doing it, can improve one's understanding of language. But there are more conceptual activities that utilize higher order thinking skills to a greater extent. And very few people gifted people (or people more generally) pursue professions that utilize the subject matter learned to a nontrivial degree.

I tend to think that it's better to learn

(a) Ideas that have broad ramifications (such as some of those from psychology, philosophy, economics and evolutionary biology), or that fit into rich conceptual structures (such as those from math or physics)

and

(b) Skills that are useful in many real life contexts, such as writing, and programming.

There may be important considerations in favor of spelling bees that I'm missing, and I'd be interested in hearing any. I recognize that gifted children are often involved in spelling bees, and that there may be social benefits to being involved even if the activity isn't the most valuable in the abstract.
Posted by: Val

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/02/14 09:04 PM

Originally Posted By: JonahSinick
@ Val — I hesitate to question the optimality of your daughter's choice of activities without solicitation & hope you'll forgive me if it's unwelcome, but have you and her thought about whether spelling bee preparation is the best use of her time?

I recognize that gifted children are often involved in spelling bees, and that there may be social benefits to being involved even if the activity isn't the most valuable in the abstract.


Honestly? You've overstepped your bounds and (more importantly) missed the point of your own thread.

My husband and I encourage our children to make their own decisions. If they don't learn this process now, when will they?

Just as importantly, if an adult comes along and dismisses a child's choice to excel in a particular competition that the adult doesn't value personally, the message is clear: Girl, you don't know how to make good decisions. Let me show you a better way. . In a situation like this one, this approach directly feeds into the lack of confidence that your thread brings up. Think about that.

You've brought up an important idea (how to increase confidence), but in this context at least, your response to a child's goals gives the impression that you haven't fully thought the idea through. smile
Posted by: JonahSinick

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/02/14 09:40 PM

@ Val — Thanks for engaging, this is helpful.

I'm broadly in favor of children making their own decisions, and didn't mean to suggest otherwise. Children usually aren't aware of all available options and their pros and cons. Learning about these things is inherently empowering rather than disempowering. One has to be careful about how one presents information for the reason that you give. But it's possible to present it in a way that's not patronizing.

Reflecting on my own history, there are points where it would have been very helpful if somebody had raised certain considerations that I was unaware of at the time.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 01:14 AM

Quote:
Reflecting on my own history, there are points where it would have been very helpful if somebody had raised certain considerations that I was unaware of at the time.
Agreed. The existence of sayings like "Hindsight is 20/20", and people frequently speaking of "if I knew then what I know now... !", indicates this may be common.

It seems there are so many more options today and kids may sample a broader array of interests while discovering the areas in which they most enjoy immersing themselves. Finding opportunities for building a progression of skills and abilities in one or more areas of intense personal interest can be an almost overwhelming prospect. This may be exacerbated for gifted girls, as indicated by articles recently published online: Analyses of web search results described that more searches were done for son/gifted and daughter/weight, indicating that girls may have an uphill climb if parents may be focused on different attributes of "success" for girls.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 05:06 AM

Originally Posted By: JonahSinick

There may be important considerations in favor of spelling bees that I'm missing, and I'd be interested in hearing any. I recognize that gifted children are often involved in spelling bees, and that there may be social benefits to being involved even if the activity isn't the most valuable in the abstract.

In recent years, spelling and geography bees have been dominated by Indians. When the winners are asked about their future career plans in media interviews, they often mention medicine. Medical school and pre-med classes require a lot of memorization. I decided against being a pre-med in part because I disliked the memorization in my 12th-grade anatomy and physiology class.

Lots of doctors in the U.S. are Indian, some having grown up here, some in India. I think Indians may do well in spelling and geography bees and in medicine because they are willing to do the intellectual grunt work of memorization.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 06:43 AM

I am a former National Spelling Bee contestant. (The bee was less serious back then and I didn't study very much, but anyway.) I think the environment and prep is useful in the same way that any kind of elite competition is useful. Regardless, you get to the Bee by winning one smaller bee after another. I'm not sure Val's daughter set out to do it from the start as much as she has proven that she is highly competent and now is challenging herself to go farther. That's what happened with me, anyway--and I would certainly have been gobsmacked if someone had suggested that I stop. I got a free trip to DC out of it, after all, and it was a nice experience.

As I say, I did not study very much (I was a young competitor--only 11--and lacked discipline), but since school was easy for me at the time, I can't see how it would have harmed me and would likely have been good for me. OTOH, my parents left it up to me, which I respect. I did not do well, but knew that was my own doing. I was regionally competitive, but not nationally.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 07:39 AM

There was some research showing that female teachers' math insecurities are passed on to girls but not to boys due to gender role modeling. There's the interesting double-edged sword here in that boys and men are often inaccurately overconfident (girls and women being the opposite, but I think their estimates are closer to their actual ability). I am not a fan of blind overconfidence--I think it does much evil in the world--but OTOH, I am obviously not a fan of underconfidence, either.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 09:07 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
I'm convinced that imposter syndrome is a result of girls who try to fit into normative girl culture when it isn't who they actually are. "Being smart" is never part of that normative culture, which is profoundly about appearance and being non-threatening and sexually appealing to others.


I'm not sure anyone "fits" into normative girl culture without significant effort to conform to it, and I'm convinced that it's toxic to anyone.

Ditto normative boy culture. Both are toxic, just in different ways. We're basically talking about people trying to fit into stereotypes, and that's never fun.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 09:18 AM

I agree with Dude.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 09:48 AM

Well-stated, Dude.

My DD is particularly lucky that she has two parents who have bucked the traditional gender stereotypes by BREAKING them completely-- me being a super-smart woman who dumbs down for nobody and actively punishes anyone that treats me like an airhead (oh, I'm socially appropriate, but nobody does it to me twice)-- and a dad that broke the "dumb jock" mold, and turned down a full football scholarship to major in a STEM field instead, and who loves the fine arts. So it's healthier than outright "rejection" in that we still do things that might be considered conforming (DH likes cop shows and sports and I sew and knit), but only on our terms.



Originally Posted By: ultramarina
I am a former National Spelling Bee contestant. (The bee was less serious back then and I didn't study very much, but anyway.) I think the environment and prep is useful in the same way that any kind of elite competition is useful. Regardless, you get to the Bee by winning one smaller bee after another. I'm not sure Val's daughter set out to do it from the start as much as she has proven that she is highly competent and now is challenging herself to go farther. That's what happened with me, anyway--and I would certainly have been gobsmacked if someone had suggested that I stop. I got a free trip to DC out of it, after all, and it was a nice experience.

As I say, I did not study very much (I was a young competitor--only 11--and lacked discipline), but since school was easy for me at the time, I can't see how it would have harmed me and would likely have been good for me. OTOH, my parents left it up to me, which I respect. I did not do well, but knew that was my own doing. I was regionally competitive, but not nationally.



Same here-- I read widely (being an introverted only child and HG+ one) and it was effortless to qualify at the state level. Truly. smile It was just fun. I tanked when it started feeling like being under a microscope-- wasn't my thing to seek the limelight, even then.

Posted by: JonahSinick

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 10:27 AM

@ Bostonian — I couldn't tell from your comment whether you think that the correlation between spelling bee performance and going into / succeeding in medicine is causal...is that what you meant?

@ ultramarine — Thanks for sharing your experience! Looking back over the different extracurriculars that you were involved with, does participation in the National Spelling Bee stand out as among the best, or are there others that you found more enriching and/or enjoyable?

As for girls/women assessing their abilities more accurately than boys/men, this may be true in general, but I think that it's less likely to be true for gifted populations. I've seen a number of examples of gifted girls/women underestimate their intelligence by ~1 standard deviation (~15 IQ points) roughly speaking, and fewer instances of gifted boys/men overestimating their intelligence by ~1 standard deviation.

@ master of none — I'm glad to hear that things have been going better, and am sympathetic. Has she thought about going to a math camp for middle school students like MathPath (where I worked for three summers)? A lot of the girls there had very good experiences meeting other girls who share their interests. Art of Problem Solving also has some very mathematically talented girls.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 10:41 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Ditto normative boy culture. Both are toxic, just in different ways. We're basically talking about people trying to fit into stereotypes, and that's never fun.


I think that some people like fitting in.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 10:41 AM

Originally Posted By: JonahSinick
@ Bostonian — I couldn't tell from your comment whether you think that the correlation between spelling bee performance and going into / succeeding in medicine is causal...is that what you meant?

I am speculating that people who train hard and do well in spelling bees gain confidence in their ability to memorize and to retain what they have memorized. This prepares them for subjects requiring memorization.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 11:04 AM

I agree with that analysis, Bostonian. It was a big confidence booster to me personally, and by extension made me more confident in my "voice" as a writer heading into college.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 11:18 AM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: Dude
Ditto normative boy culture. Both are toxic, just in different ways. We're basically talking about people trying to fit into stereotypes, and that's never fun.


I think that some people like fitting in.


Sure.

Some people like methamphetamines, too. That doesn't mean it's healthy.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 11:31 AM

Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: Dude
Ditto normative boy culture. Both are toxic, just in different ways. We're basically talking about people trying to fit into stereotypes, and that's never fun.


I think that some people like fitting in.


Girls are often taught that choosing NOT to do so robs them of all value. Inherently, I mean.


As my DD put it...

So... dumb guys go for dumb girls. Check. Smart guys go for girls who are dumber than they are... check. So remind me again what is left for "smart girls?" RIGHT. Cats; that's what.

She's sort of nailed this one, unfortunately. The response from other adolescents when she shows them who she really is... is overwhelmingly NEGATIVE, and sometimes even hostile when you get right down to it. Because just by being herself, she tends to stoke the flames of others' insecurities, and other adolescents respond by sniping at her and cutting her down. Nobody seems to want a friend that is better than them (or at least their equal) at almost everything. Girls are particularly nasty this way, but romantically interested boys tend to do it to her, as well-- probably because they automatically assume she's out of their pay grade, but it still stings to know that WHAT you are is unacceptable to others.

So yeah.

I think that boys who excel in the fine and performing arts face some of this same battle, actually.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 11:52 AM

Originally Posted By: HowlerKarma
Originally Posted By: JonLaw
Originally Posted By: Dude
Ditto normative boy culture. Both are toxic, just in different ways. We're basically talking about people trying to fit into stereotypes, and that's never fun.


I think that some people like fitting in.


Girls are often taught that choosing NOT to do so robs them of all value. Inherently, I mean.


As my DD put it...

So... dumb guys go for dumb girls. Check. Smart guys go for girls who are dumber than they are... check. So remind me again what is left for "smart girls?" RIGHT. Cats; that's what.

She's sort of nailed this one, unfortunately.

Haven't you written that she is not applying to places like Harvard because the students there are too competitive? There would be more men there who are not intimidated by smart women.
Posted by: Val

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 12:03 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Haven't you written that she is not applying to places like Harvard because the students there are too competitive? There would be more men there who are not intimidated by smart women.


In my meandering experience, hypercompetitive people don't like to hang around with people who might remind them that they might not be #1 every time. Especially if the hypercompetitive ones are male and the other ones are female.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 12:11 PM

In her experience, the smarter the guys are (or maybe more properly, the more intrinsically they identify as "smart") the more extreme their fear of her tends to be. That has been her experience with 90% of the small number of other MG+ peers, anyway. I strongly suspect that part of her decision to NOT apply to super-elite colleges is tied up in that. But not all of it-- she also genuinely has concerns about family dynamics and living apart, and an aversion to that hyper-competitive intensity.

I have to say that this (somewhat) reflects my own experiences, too-- and those of my smart female friends. Most of us didn't find people who weren't threatened by our mental horsepower until college or, more likely, graduate school.

Some of it seems to have been a maturity issue-- but the damage done by this social buffeting can be pretty intense when it overlaps the search for personal identity that happens during adolescence.

It also makes such people vulnerable socially to pretty much anyone that seems to accept their true selves.
Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 12:19 PM

Originally Posted By: Val
Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Haven't you written that she is not applying to places like Harvard because the students there are too competitive? There would be more men there who are not intimidated by smart women.


In my meandering experience, hypercompetitive people don't like to hang around with people who might remind them that they might not be #1 every time. Especially if the hypercompetitive ones are male and the other ones are female.


It's true generally for hypercompetitive men, I think. I still remember one of my neighbors being relatively upset that I had a higher SAT score than he did. He really though of himself as #1.

Amusingly enough, the only person who I encountered in middle school who was faster at math computation than I was was a girl (from some other school...I have no idea who she was).

I was more surprised that someone *could* compute faster than I could than the fact that it was a girl, since I was used to sandblasting soup crackers with no effort prior to that.

Granted, I was already used to the idea that there were people who were more intelligent than I was, but then again my neighbor and childhood friend was the national spelling bee champion.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 12:40 PM

Quote:
Quote:
correlation between spelling bee performance and going into / succeeding in medicine
I am speculating that people who train hard and do well in spelling bees gain confidence in their ability to memorize and to retain what they have memorized. This prepares them for subjects requiring memorization.
I understand that spelling bee prep which includes etymology, especially Greek and Latin prefixes, word roots, and suffixes, is helpful as a foundation for the vocabulary of science and medicine, especially Biology, Anatomy & Physiology.
Posted by: Val

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 12:45 PM

Originally Posted By: indigo
I understand that spelling bee prep which includes etymology, especially Greek and Latin prefixes, word roots, and suffixes, is helpful as a foundation for the vocabulary of science and medicine, especially Biology, Anatomy & Physiology.


Oh yes. Last night my 9- and 11-year-olds both figured out what the word "exophthalmos" means because they knew the two root words. Other words they've figured out include macrocephaly, microcephaly, and microdontia. It's very educational for them to discover that big complicated-looking words are really just quite simple.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 01:13 PM

Yes. I've never formally studied either Latin or Greek, but I've also never needed specific instruction in terminology (medical or scientific) and many of my peers have needed such assistance.
Posted by: JonahSinick

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 02:11 PM

@ HowlerKarma — Interesting, I'll update in favor of spelling bees wink.
Posted by: Thomas Percy

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 05:03 PM

Originally Posted By: JonahSinick
@ Val — I hesitate to question the optimality of your daughter's choice of activities without solicitation & hope you'll forgive me if it's unwelcome, but have you and her thought about whether spelling bee preparation is the best use of her time?

Training for spelling bees may build discipline, constitutes cognitive exercise, and if done in the way that she's doing it, can improve one's understanding of language. But there are more conceptual activities that utilize higher order thinking skills to a greater extent. And very few people gifted people (or people more generally) pursue professions that utilize the subject matter learned to a nontrivial degree.

I tend to think that it's better to learn

(a) Ideas that have broad ramifications (such as some of those from psychology, philosophy, economics and evolutionary biology), or that fit into rich conceptual structures (such as those from math or physics)

and

(b) Skills that are useful in many real life contexts, such as writing, and programming.

There may be important considerations in favor of spelling bees that I'm missing, and I'd be interested in hearing any. I recognize that gifted children are often involved in spelling bees, and that there may be social benefits to being involved even if the activity isn't the most valuable in the abstract.


As a practicing researcher in one of the areas you mentioned in point a, I actually don't think a child should focus too much in them. I think social science is still relatively subjective and requires experience even a PG child would not necessarily have an easier time acquiring beyond their age. Time is better spent in mastering a more foundational subject. Math and etymology are both fine use of time.
Posted by: JonahSinick

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 06:27 PM

@ Thomas Percy — Thanks for your thoughts! I've worked primarily with high school and college aged students, and am still very new to thinking about what's optimal for elementary school aged students, so hearing different people's perspectives is very helpful to me.

I know many people who share your view. I've had some uneasiness about embracing it on account of awareness that I'm biased in favor of math because of its sheer beauty.

If you're inclined, I'd be interested in hearing you flesh out your thinking. There are reasons to think that you're right, e.g. I know children who are 10+ years ahead in math and I don't know children who are anywhere near 10+ years ahead in a social science (nor adults who were as children) and this is evidence, but I feel as though I don't have a good intuitive sense for what's going on from the inside. What experience do people gain as they get older that prepares them for social sciences?

My own understanding of social sciences developed rather late, but I don't know whether this is because I didn't have enough experience when I was younger or whether it's because I didn't come across books or people that explained them well to me (I could imagine it going either way).
Posted by: Thomas Percy

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 06:51 PM

Jonah,

For one thing, I don't even know what 10 year ahead in a social science means. Let's use economics for example. The best preparation for a econ ph.d program is a major in math. You do need a few courses at the undergraduate level but no need to major in it. So one year worth in undergrad and five year of graduate study qualifies you as a professional econimist. That does not mean this five year of study can happen without a solid foundation in quantitive method and critical reasoning. But those skills are not economics per se. I cannot say I know much about philosophy. But psychology and other social sciences are similar. They need a lot of skills to really be a student of them. But these skills are better built through majoring in math or English. I hope this makes sense.
Posted by: Thomas Percy

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/03/14 07:11 PM

I want to add that as hard as physical science is, social problems are generally less tractable, messier if you will. They tend to be further from a child's life compare to natural phenomena. But not as abstract as math or linguistics that you can ignore real life if you are so inclined. There is a reason we have had precocious mathematicians but I don't think any one younger than 20 has done anything worth mentioning in economics.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/04/14 03:01 AM

Quote:
children who are 10+ years ahead in math
Yes, math tends to follow a standard, predictable progression, making it relatively easy to measure how advanced a student may be, beyond other children their age.

Quote:
I don't know children who are anywhere near 10+ years ahead in a social science (nor adults who were as children) ... don't have a good intuitive sense for what's going on from the inside. What experience do people gain as they get older that prepares them for social sciences?
A common trait in gifted children, often listed amongst identifying characteristics, is alternately described as "advanced moral reasoning", "well developed sense of justice", "moral sensitivity", "advanced ability to think about such abstract ideas as justice and fairness", "empathy", "compassion". This humanitarian concern may inspire young gifties to be attracted to studying psychology and philosophy, two of the areas of social sciences listed in earlier posts in this thread. Links to lists of gifted characteristics include several articles on the Davidson Database here and here, SENG (Silverman), SENG (Lovecky).

While gifted kids may choose to pursue interests as varied as juggling, astronomy, and people watching, lists of Davidson Fellows, Theil Fellows, Jack Cooke Kent Scholarship recipients, etc may be especially inspiring by showing what can be accomplished at a relatively young age.

The confidence of gifted children may be boosted by reading about others like themselves (bibliotherapy). There are reading lists of books whose characters are gifted.

Posted by: JonLaw

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/04/14 06:19 AM

Originally Posted By: JonahSinick
What experience do people gain as they get older that prepares them for social sciences?


Puberty.
Posted by: luvedu

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/04/14 06:59 AM

indigo, You are always so informative !!

What do you do :-) ??
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 05:41 AM

Originally Posted By: JonahSinick
The 1996 study Self-Efficacy Beliefs and Mathematical Problem-Solving of Gifted Students found that

Although most students were overconfident about their capabilities, gifted students had more accurate self-perceptions and gifted girls were biased toward underconfidence.

Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg discusses high potential women being underconfident in her book Lean In.

I've had many gifted female students and classmates/colleagues who have struggled with intellectual insecurity.

Some who think that underconfidence in gifted girls is a serious problem believe that it discourages them from majoring in STEM. The article below finds that women are more strongly discouraged than men from majoring in economics when they don't get an A in the introductory course. I think I have read about a similar pattern in STEM. But majoring in something you are good at does make sense. It's not clear that men are being more rational than women in choosing whether to major in economics or STEM.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/c...a0e6_story.html
Women should embrace the B’s in college to make more later
by Catherine Rampell
Washington Post
March 10, 2014
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 05:58 AM

Not gonna stop me from buying DD STEM toys or encouraging her to flower in that direction but...

Reality of differences between boys and girls
Posted by: Dude

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 08:19 AM

Originally Posted By: madeinuk
Not gonna stop me from buying DD STEM toys or encouraging her to flower in that direction but...

Reality of differences between boys and girls


From the article:

Quote:
And, as Geary recently told me, “One of the largest and most persistent differences between the sexes is children’s play preferences.” The female preference for nurturing play and the male propensity for rough-and-tumble hold cross-culturally and even cross-species.


Someone should tell DD9, because I'm hearing "Wanna wrestle?" from her lately at least once a week. Her and her (female) friends keep dragging me out to the yard to play tackle football. After football, they usually go and play with their dolls.

I found it quite humorous that the author was surprised that there were no boys in the American Girl store.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 08:59 AM

Quote:
Not gonna stop me from buying DD STEM toys or encouraging her to flower in that direction but...

Reality of differences between boys and girls


Christina Hoff Sommers alert! Approach with extreme caution! Cherrypicked "data," political agendas, and vague generalizations ahead!
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 09:01 AM

"almost any parent will attest that most little girls don’t want to play with dump trucks"

Someone forgot to send this memo to my DD. As for tea sets, I dutifully bought one for DD but neither of my kids ever played with it, (What is a "tea set," mom?) though they both were mildly interested in our play food set.

Posted by: binip

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 09:14 AM

"The female preference for nurturing play and the male propensity for rough-and-tumble hold cross-culturally and even cross-species."

So did the lack of the right to vote.

Just because it's nearly universal does not mean it's biological.

Across cultures people smile at baby girls more. Is this biological? Possibly, though those same people can't identify a male or female without the diaper off (when told a baby is a girl, they smile more, even if other participants in the same study smile less at said baby because they are told it's a boy).

There is absolutely no way to test the vast majority of claims about whether behavior is social or biological, because all of our behavior is a function of a larger social organism from which we cannot extract an individual without harming said individual.

Until we figure out a way to do isolate a baby from birth without harming the baby, I'm going to assume that my girls can do whatever boys can do intellectually. I don't have a good reason to think otherwise.

I've been glaring at them, telling them to buck up, and introducing them into play groups where girls are publicly shamed for playing with dollies to mimic the male experience.

Joking, of course. I don't think that should happen to any child, although about 50% of the population experiences that level of conditioning from birth. (Then we say they "naturally" behave differently.)

The point is, conditioning happens from day one, so I wouldn't put so much stock into universal experiences. Nearly humans speak a language, but only because they are spoken to. That is a scientific discovery, by the way. Scientists (before we had to get human subjects approval) took a group of orphans and isolated them and expected to speak some kind of uncontaminated, pure, proto-language. (They thought it would be Hebrew.) The children didn't learn any language, and were linguistically hindered for life.

Almost all Japanese people born in Japan speak Japanese, because that's what their brains get as input. It's not biological, but for thousands of years, people thought it was, because you didn't have such mass inter-lingual migrations. People were truly shocked (even scientists) to realize that not just "special" babies but all people learn language not based on genetic makeup, but based on the input they get as infants. And in fact, a lot of people who ought to know better even today, somehow assume that a child will learn a language without it being spoken to them.

This is something that frequently happens when the father of a household speaks a foreign language but not to the children: though many of them know better, they also claim, paradoxically, that they thought their kids would "pick up" the language because they were [insert ethnic group here]. Said men are not stupid--they've just never seen a Dominican child, for example, not speak a Dominican dialect.

Women have had the expectation of universal education, with the demand of being able to participate in the work force so that their survival is dependent on their own skills and not the goodwill of a single man (their husband), for what, 100 years?

10,000 years of civilization and we get 100 years, close so many academic and professional gaps that it's frankly deeply shocking, and we still cite 50-year-old studies and studies based on social norms that are changing rapidly?

We are talking about one of the quickest mass changes in societal behavior in history and it's been more global and more quickly adopted than democratic forms of government. And we still bear the babies and nurse them. That is how prepared women were biologically to be introduced as a culture to the workforce and education.

I don't buy this biological differences stuff. Give us another 100 years, let us get back to getting men in the classrooms for boys (teacher gender balance is disgustingly skewed nowadays), and to a world in which no woman even realizes her mom was was told not to study physics, in which men and women have equal parental leave and every woman has the support to learn to use a breast pump or to take time off to nurse and then return to work, and then you can do some studies to impress me about biological differences. For now, I think the most reasonable assumption is to take each child as a product of a deeply gendered environment (boys and girls) and work to compensate for that so that each child feels comfortable expressing his or her intellectual talents however s/he can.

That also implies things like boys-only ballet classes, because I know two boys who briefly expressed an interest in ballet before immediately retracting it, seeing the desperate attempts of their open-minded parents to hide their surprise. Even our eyebrows tell our children what is "right" and "wrong", even if we don't want to think something is "wrong" (i.e. unusual).

Sorry for the treatise. I just can't stand these pseudo-scientific studies. I see pre-school kids all the time and the #1 thing I see in 100% of the population is that normal human beings are extremely adept at picking up very subtle cues from their social environment regarding norms, expectations, and limits. You don't have to be a sexist jerk for a child to pick up the nanosecond long pause when he asks if he can be a nurse.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 09:22 AM

Originally Posted By: ultramarina
Christina Hoff Sommers alert! Approach with extreme caution! Cherrypicked "data," political agendas, and vague generalizations ahead!

When I saw the article I thought of mentioning that Sommers' authorship and recommending some of her books, which document the cherrypicked data and political agendas of many feminists. Just today I purchased the 2nd edition of "The War Against Boys: How Misguided Policies are Harming Our Young Men" (2013). I liked the first edition, published in 2001.

Clearly we aren't going to reach agreement about Sommers (or Summers :)). One's view of her work is correlated to one's political outlook.
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 09:28 AM

Bravo binip!!!
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 09:30 AM

Originally Posted By: ultramarina
Bravo binip!!!


YES. smile

I'm not sure that I've ever seen anything published in this area that is convincingly free of underlying bias, either-- Bostonian has a reasonable point there, too.

It's not ONLY girls who are harmed by this kind of environment-- it's boys as well.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 09:37 AM

Ditto! Bravo to binip, hat tip to Bostonian as well.

May I add one thing? Might this* apply not only to gender but also to culture/ethnicity? There may be a fine line between being culturally sensitive and buying into stereotypes. All people are individuals and deserve to be treated as such, rather than as demographic statistics.

*this = this section of the post:
Quote:
There is absolutely no way to test the vast majority of claims about whether behavior is social or biological, because all of our behavior is a function of a larger social organism from which we cannot extract an individual without harming said individual.

Until we figure out a way to do isolate a baby from birth without harming the baby, I'm going to assume that my girls can do whatever boys can do intellectually. I don't have a good reason to think otherwise.

I've been glaring at them, telling them to buck up, and introducing them into play groups where girls are publicly shamed for playing with dollies to mimic the male experience.

Joking, of course. I don't think that should happen to any child, although about 50% of the population experiences that level of conditioning from birth. (Then we say they "naturally" behave differently.)
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 09:39 AM

Originally Posted By: binip
Almost all Japanese people born in Japan speak Japanese, because that's what their brains get as input. It's not biological, but for thousands of years, people thought it was, because you didn't have such mass inter-lingual migrations.

Culture is shaped by biology. East Asians have a relative strength in spatial ability, which may explain their use of pictographic writing.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 09:58 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Culture is shaped by biology. East Asians have a relative strength in spatial ability, which may explain their use of pictographic writing.
Culture may be shaped by nature and nurture. Biology, being nature, would be part of the influence on shaping culture.

The example of pictographs may be a correlation, not a causation? May be chicken-or-egg... which came first... did pictographs favor people who had visual/spatial strength, emphasizing and valuing development in that area?
Posted by: Dude

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 10:32 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Culture is shaped by biology. East Asians have a relative strength in spatial ability, which may explain their use of pictographic writing.


You have a causality issue here. Do they use pictographic writing because they have a strength in spatial ability, or do they have a strength in spatial ability because they use pictographic writing?

This assumes the spatial ability has been reliably demonstrated in the first place.
Posted by: madeinuk

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 10:36 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: binip
Almost all Japanese people born in Japan speak Japanese, because that's what their brains get as input. It's not biological, but for thousands of years, people thought it was, because you didn't have such mass inter-lingual migrations.

Culture is shaped by biology. East Asians have a relative strength in spatial ability, which may explain their use of pictographic writing.


And if I remember correctly - haven't looked at it for over 25 years - culture can at least impact cognitition itself as shown by Luria's work in Central Asia.
Posted by: Val

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 10:38 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Culture is shaped by biology. East Asians have a relative strength in spatial ability, which may explain their use of pictographic writing.


(Chinese and Japanese writing systems are actually properly called logographic.)

Korean isn't logographic. Nor are Thai, Burmese, or Cambodian. Alternatively, Egyptian hieroglyphics were logographic. Though a variety of new world languages used pictographs for writing, as do a few languages in and around Nigeria and old Chinese writing systems. Etc. So logographic and pictographic systems show up all over the world.

Burmese letters are rounded: people originally wrote on palm leaves and straight lines would have torn the leaves. So in this case at least, the writing system was dictated by the medium that was available to be written on. Also, if I was carving a story into a stone using the tools available 3,000 years ago, I might be inclined to use the most efficient means possible, which would be logographic or pictographic over letters. And, TBH, pictograms seem to be a natural way to start a writing system, and I can see how they would evolve to logographic systems and letters as the available materials changed and as people tinkered with them.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 11:16 AM

... as anyone who has ever played Pictionary with a seriously competitive group of people soon realizes.

wink
Posted by: binip

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/12/14 01:04 PM

"East Asians have a relative strength in spatial ability"

Begging the question. Even assuming that the tests of spatial ability are properly measuring it--which may well be the case--we have no reason to believe that that is a cause of, rather than consequence of, the symbolic nature of Kanji.

The whole point is that we do not have tools, given a respect for basic human rights and unpredictability and complexity of human societies, to perform the experiments that would allow us to tease out cause from effect in these socio-economic, ethnic and gender based differences.

There is absolutely no question that people of African-American descent perform worse on average on standardized tests. THAT is not the question.

The question is WHY. Simply saying, "Well, we haven't managed to change it, so it's biological," is totally illogical. Same goes for "girls can't do math", "white guys can't dance", "boys aren't verbal", etc. You need to be able to show a causative relationship, not just a correlation.

Randomized controlled trials that would control for the variables in question from conception to adulthood (well past 26) would require the controlling of thousands of individuals for three decades. If you can get funding and approval for that, let me know. wink I'm in!
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 06:34 AM

Originally Posted By: binip
"East Asians have a relative strength in spatial ability"

Begging the question. Even assuming that the tests of spatial ability are properly measuring it--which may well be the case--we have no reason to believe that that is a cause of, rather than consequence of, the symbolic nature of Kanji.

The whole point is that we do not have tools, given a respect for basic human rights and unpredictability and complexity of human societies, to perform the experiments that would allow us to tease out cause from effect in these socio-economic, ethnic and gender based differences.

There is absolutely no question that people of African-American descent perform worse on average on standardized tests. THAT is not the question.

The question is WHY. Simply saying, "Well, we haven't managed to change it, so it's biological," is totally illogical. Same goes for "girls can't do math", "white guys can't dance", "boys aren't verbal", etc. You need to be able to show a causative relationship, not just a correlation.

Randomized controlled trials that would control for the variables in question from conception to adulthood (well past 26) would require the controlling of thousands of individuals for three decades. If you can get funding and approval for that, let me know. wink I'm in!

For the reasons you stated, we will never know for sure to what extent sex differences in STEM achievement and racial differences in academic achievement are genetic. In that case, we should not jump to the conclusion that any difference is either a flaw in the measuring instrument ("the SAT is biased") or the result of unequal opportunities ("rich kids score better because of test prep").
Posted by: indigo

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 06:54 AM

Quote:
we will never know for sure to what extent sex differences in STEM achievement... are genetic. In that case, we should not jump to the conclusion that any difference is either a flaw in the measuring instrument ("the SAT is biased") or the result of unequal opportunities...
Agreed! We ought not to presume. Until we do know, we can continue to discuss and explore. There is a current discussion thread with a similar theme here ... it is speaking of a district with more boys than girls identified for the gifted math class.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 07:20 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
For the reasons you stated, we will never know for sure to what extent sex differences in STEM achievement and racial differences in academic achievement are genetic. In that case, we should not jump to the conclusion that any difference is either a flaw in the measuring instrument ("the SAT is biased") or the result of unequal opportunities ("rich kids score better because of test prep").


We can know how cultural bias influences STEM achievement gender gaps by cross-referencing data against other countries. Any differences due to genetics should be consistent.

Originally Posted By: OECD
Boys outperform girls in mathematics in 35 of the 65 countries and economies that participated in PISA 2009. In five countries, girls outperform boys, and in 25 countries there is no significant difference between the genders.


We can find out more by doing controlled studies into such things as teacher bias:
http://www.livescience.com/19552-girls-math-teachers-bias.html
Posted by: indigo

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 07:35 AM

Interesting links, thanks for sharing!

In the second link, the article first speaks of comparable test scores, then contrasts this with stating the teachers believed the math was easier for boys. In fact, both could be true: students could have comparable test scores and at the same time the math may be easier for some than for others.

Finishing a test early and receiving the same score as a student requiring the full allotted time comes to mind. Growth mindset and the virtue of effort come to mind. One is not better than the other, but they do represent a difference.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 11:36 AM

Originally Posted By: DAD22
You can see how different cultures influence statistical comparisons relative to one another, but you still can't say what the statistics would be like in a neutral culture. I've seen many people (including study authors) jump to the conclusion that if culture affects a statistic relating to subgroup performance, then culture must be wholly responsible for the differences. Unfortunately, that's not a logical conclusion.


Well, if it's not genetic, and it's not cultural, then I'd be interested in your alternative hypotheses. Because we live in an "advanced" Western civilization which only, after millennia of feminine marginalization, have reluctantly allowed equality of opportunity for women for only the last 3-4 decades, and yet we can still see a math gap in only 35/65 participating nations... so it's most definitely NOT genetics.
Posted by: binip

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 11:51 AM

"Any differences due to genetics should be consistent."

Oh, definitely not. Height differences between men and women are consistent in that they exist in all cultures, but in some cultures men and women have greater height differences than in others. It depends on how they are nourished as children and other genetic factors such as when they hit puberty.

I personally don't believe it's possible to test this hypothesis scientifically at this time. I think we have to move forward with the assumption that girls can do it, because it hurts nobody, and see how it works out. The only alternative is to effectively give up on girls, "You didn't catch up fast enough!", and stop providing them with the support they need to overcome implicit bias, minority status, and so on.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 12:10 PM

Originally Posted By: binip

I think we have to move forward with the assumption that girls can do it, because it hurts nobody, and see how it works out. The only alternative is to effectively give up on girls, "You didn't catch up fast enough!", and stop providing them with the support they need to overcome implicit bias, minority status, and so on.

The National Science Foundation has spent $130 million to encourage more women in STEM http://www.universityaffairs.ca/examinin...isciplines.aspx , based on the belief that disparities are inequities. I think that money could have been better spent on the NSF's primary mission of funding scientific research.

Everyone agrees that the distribution of math ability in the two sexes overlaps -- there are lots of girls who are better than the average boy. Why should the belief that the male distribution is centered slightly to the right of the female distribution have such a discouraging effect on females? Accepting equal ability as dogma often leads to the conclusion that we know fewer women are in STEM because society is stacked against them. I think holding this belief could be more discouraging to a girl than the belief that there is a small difference in the distribution of ability.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 01:10 PM

Originally Posted By: binip
"Any differences due to genetics should be consistent."

Oh, definitely not. Height differences between men and women are consistent in that they exist in all cultures, but in some cultures men and women have greater height differences than in others. It depends on how they are nourished as children and other genetic factors such as when they hit puberty.


It looks like you've already made the counterargument (bolded).
Posted by: binip

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 01:44 PM

"It looks like you've already made the counterargument (bolded)."

No, you're confusing the consistent presence of differences, with the consistency of the differences themselves. There are consistently differences between boys and girls performance in math and LA, but the differences themselves are not consistent.

Same goes for dress. There are consistently differences between male and female dress across all cultures, but the differences themselves are not at all consistent.
Posted by: binip

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 01:48 PM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Originally Posted By: binip

I think we have to move forward with the assumption that girls can do it, because it hurts nobody, and see how it works out. The only alternative is to effectively give up on girls, "You didn't catch up fast enough!", and stop providing them with the support they need to overcome implicit bias, minority status, and so on.

The National Science Foundation has spent $130 million to encourage more women in STEM http://www.universityaffairs.ca/examinin...isciplines.aspx , based on the belief that disparities are inequities. I think that money could have been better spent on the NSF's primary mission of funding scientific research.

Everyone agrees that the distribution of math ability in the two sexes overlaps -- there are lots of girls who are better than the average boy. Why should the belief that the male distribution is centered slightly to the right of the female distribution have such a discouraging effect on females? Accepting equal ability as dogma often leads to the conclusion that we know fewer women are in STEM because society is stacked against them. I think holding this belief could be more discouraging to a girl than the belief that there is a small difference in the distribution of ability.


I don't know why people find it so discouraging to be told that they probably won't do as well, and I don't know why that has such a big effect on their results. But that's a common behavior in men AND women. Do you know how many men I know who claim they can't dance without even trying? It's stupid. Genetics doesn't only give women the dance gene. Men don't practice for cultural reasons. It's so sad.

I agree that people should accept the truth, but what is the truth in this case? Where is the evidence?

What I don't agree is that we have any idea whether differences in behavior and performance are genetic or cultural. There's no way to test the causal theory that differences are biologically driven (in practical terms--of course I could propose an experiment, it just couldn't be carried out) so there's no reason to assume that they are.

Moreover, there are reasons to believe that discouraging half of the workforce from entering entire swaths of professions IS problematic for science. My partner is a biologist and his last three bosses were biologists. I only know one bio-statistician and that is a woman. Imagine if these women were discriminated against because of a widespread belief, not challenged, that they would likely perform worse than a man.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 02:28 PM

The conversation in this thread has taken a number of twists and turns and moved well beyond the post which I've been thinking about and wish to respond to...
Originally Posted By: binip
Imagine if these women were discriminated against because of a widespread belief, not challenged, that they would likely perform worse than a man.
Opportunities for individuals are objectively based upon the individual's demonstrated past performance. This may then be extrapolated to infer the individual's future performance. People are individuals, not demographic statistics.

Persons being equal does not mean they are the same in their individual characteristics. For example height, weight, ability. Tall people are more inclined to be successful basketball players. Height may be heritable. Would we call this "tall privilege" and tax it to redistribute WNBA player earnings to people of petite stature? Would we place height restrictions on WNBA players and insist on quotas of persons of average height for each team? Would we put stilts on jockeys and expect them to compete on a par with WNBA players? Viva la difference.

Girls can like dolls AND legos, they are not mutually exclusive. Some may say gifted girls will be most confident when they are pursuing their own hopes and dreams, which may or may not align with shattering gender stereotypes in career choice and hobbies.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 02:32 PM

Originally Posted By: indigo
Persons being equal does not mean they are the same in their individual characteristics. For example height, weight, ability. Tall people are more inclined to be successful basketball players. Height may be heritable. Would we call this "tall privilege" and tax it to redistribute WNBA player earnings to people of petite stature? Would we place height restrictions on WNBA players and insist on quotas of persons of average height for each team? Would we put stilts on jockeys and expect them to compete on a par with WNBA players? Viva la difference.


Imagine if Shaquille O'Neal's parents thought he'd never grow over 5'8", and they gave a lot of his food to a younger sibling.
Posted by: binip

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/13/14 08:50 PM

I must have mistaken your argument for someone else's. Sorry about that.

Originally Posted By: Dude


Either you're the one confused, or you're attributing arguments to me that I did not make, because I never said that a genetic difference should always express itself in the exact same ratio, because that would be idiotic.


Yes, I agree that it would be foolish. Apparently I lost track of the thread.


Originally Posted By: binip
There are consistently differences between boys and girls performance in math and LA, but the differences themselves are not consistent.


In 30 of 65 countries tested, the gender gap either did not exist, or was shown to be in the opposite direction. That does not match any definition of "consistent" that I am familiar with.

There are differences amongst the highest performers, which are consistent. Believe me, it bugs me more than anyone because I was that girl--the one in all those high math classes--who couldn't believe how nonchalantly and confidently the boys took the tests. I'm sure their confidence (aloofness? unemotionality as teens? I don't know) affected their scores positively, and my insecurity, my scores negatively. I hate that it's a trend, because I'd like to think it's just my insecurity. But if you look it up, the top 5% or 2%, you will see that it is very consistently that the boys outscore the girls, and that differences between LA and math are greater, the further right you go on the bell curve.

Originally Posted By: Dude


I didn't realize clothes were an innate quality.


We are clearly talking past each other, then, because I was not trying to assert this at all. Sorry for the misunderstanding.
Posted by: DAD22

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/14/14 06:24 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude


Well, if it's not genetic, and it's not cultural, then I'd be interested in your alternative hypotheses. Because we live in an "advanced" Western civilization which only, after millennia of feminine marginalization, have reluctantly allowed equality of opportunity for women for only the last 3-4 decades, and yet we can still see a math gap in only 35/65 participating nations... so it's most definitely NOT genetics.


You're acting as though strong evidence for a cultural component to the gap also constitutes evidence against a genetic component. It doesn't. There's a range of measures of the gap that varies from county to country. You don't know how the gap would measure in a country with a culture perfectly neutral (or perfectly balanced) in all aspects that affect the gap. When you say "it's most definitely NOT genetics" you are taking a leap of faith that is not supported by the data.
Posted by: indigo

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/14/14 06:27 AM

Originally Posted By: binip
There are differences amongst the highest performers, which are consistent. Believe me, it bugs me more than anyone because I was that girl--the one in all those high math classes--who couldn't believe how nonchalantly and confidently the boys took the tests. I'm sure their confidence (aloofness? unemotionality as teens? I don't know) affected their scores positively, and my insecurity, my scores negatively. I hate that it's a trend, because I'd like to think it's just my insecurity. But if you look it up, the top 5% or 2%, you will see that it is very consistently that the boys outscore the girls, and that differences between LA and math are greater, the further right you go on the bell curve.
Some may say it is not wise to declare a test "biased" because some participants come to it with personal insecurity. Effective strategies may include coaching for growth mindset and a sense that one is fulfilling their own potential as an individual, not competing with other test takers or representing their gender by their performance.

Here is an interesting article regarding test performance, however the results are NOT by gender (which may provide a worthy follow up research study): APA - 2007 - Seeing red impairs test performance. I'd also be curious to know how they controlled for other variables (breakfast, sleep, etc).
Posted by: Dude

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/14/14 06:46 AM

Originally Posted By: binip
There are differences amongst the highest performers, which are consistent. Believe me, it bugs me more than anyone because I was that girl--the one in all those high math classes--who couldn't believe how nonchalantly and confidently the boys took the tests. I'm sure their confidence (aloofness? unemotionality as teens? I don't know) affected their scores positively, and my insecurity, my scores negatively. I hate that it's a trend, because I'd like to think it's just my insecurity. But if you look it up, the top 5% or 2%, you will see that it is very consistently that the boys outscore the girls, and that differences between LA and math are greater, the further right you go on the bell curve.


From the OECD paper I linked earlier (which unfortunately you now have to google for, since their server uses temporary access tokens)

Quote:
In four out of the six best-performing countries and
economies overall, there is little or no gender difference in mathematics performance. Among these, in the partner country and economies Chinese Taipei; Shanghai, China and Singapore, at least 10% of girls attain proficiency Level 6 in mathematics; in no OECD country, except Switzerland, do even 10% of boys reach this level.


Granted, with only 4 out of 65 countries represented here, and all of a similar culture, that does beg the question of whether there isn't some cultural phenomenon in play here that is pushing girls further. It bears looking into deeper, but still, that's data showing girls outperforming boys at the highest levels.

As for the boys' confidence and your lack thereof, it begs the question of whether that anxiety was determined by your genetics, by your response to subtle bias, or some combination thereof.
Posted by: Bostonian

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/14/14 07:11 AM

Originally Posted By: Dude
Originally Posted By: binip
There are differences amongst the highest performers, which are consistent. Believe me, it bugs me more than anyone because I was that girl--the one in all those high math classes--who couldn't believe how nonchalantly and confidently the boys took the tests. I'm sure their confidence (aloofness? unemotionality as teens? I don't know) affected their scores positively, and my insecurity, my scores negatively. I hate that it's a trend, because I'd like to think it's just my insecurity. But if you look it up, the top 5% or 2%, you will see that it is very consistently that the boys outscore the girls, and that differences between LA and math are greater, the further right you go on the bell curve.


From the OECD paper I linked earlier (which unfortunately you now have to google for, since their server uses temporary access tokens)

Quote:
In four out of the six best-performing countries and
economies overall, there is little or no gender difference in mathematics performance. Among these, in the partner country and economies Chinese Taipei; Shanghai, China and Singapore, at least 10% of girls attain proficiency Level 6 in mathematics; in no OECD country, except Switzerland, do even 10% of boys reach this level.


Granted, with only 4 out of 65 countries represented here, and all of a similar culture, that does beg the question of whether there isn't some cultural phenomenon in play here that is pushing girls further.

Or whether East Asian IQ of 105 and the relative strength of East Asians in math means that even if there is a sex difference in math among East Asians, the overall level of math ability is high enough that girls do well.

China is a country where the preference for males is strong enough that the sex ratio is skewed by sex-selective abortion. "Gender equity" may be worth pursuing for its own sake, but I don't think it explains differences in the math achievement gap by sex across countries.
Posted by: Dude

Re: Underconfidence in gifted girls - 03/14/14 08:16 AM

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
Or whether East Asian IQ of 105 and the relative strength of East Asians in math means that even if there is a sex difference in math among East Asians, the overall level of math ability is high enough that girls do well.


Better than their males, in fact.

Originally Posted By: Bostonian
China is a country where the preference for males is strong enough that the sex ratio is skewed by sex-selective abortion. "Gender equity" may be worth pursuing for its own sake, but I don't think it explains differences in the math achievement gap by sex across countries.


It certainly can't explain the difference if you're going to treat a math achievement gap as an a priori assumption in the face of data that directly contradicts it.

China's sociological gender selection could be an explanation for its results, but the same cannot apply to Singapore or Chinese Taipei (Taiwan). It also wouldn't explain the results for some of the varied cultures that demonstrated superior math performance for females, such as Sweden, Qatar, and Trinidad and Tobago.