The remarkably different answers men and women give when asked who’s the smartest in the class

Interesting:

Anthropologist Dan Grunspan was studying the habits of undergraduates when he noticed a persistent trend: Male students assumed their male classmates knew more about course material than female students — even if the young women earned better grades.

“The pattern just screamed at me,” he said.

So, Grunspan and his colleagues at the University of Washington and elsewhere decided to quantify the degree of this gender bias in the classroom.

After surveying roughly 1,700 students across three biology courses, they found young men consistently gave each other more credit than they awarded to their just-as-savvy female classmates.

Men over-ranked their peers by three-quarters of a GPA point, according to the study, published this month in the journal PLOS ONE. In other words, if Johnny and Susie both had A’s, they’d receive equal applause from female students — but Susie would register as a B student in the eyes of her male peers, and Johnny would look like a rock star.

“Something under the conscious is going on,” Grunspan said. “For 18 years, these [young men] have been socialized to have this bias.”

Being male, he added, “is some kind of boost.” At least in the eyes of other men.

The surveys asked each student to “nominate” their most knowledgeable classmates at three points during the school year. Who best knew the subject? Who were the high achievers?

University of Washington

To illustrate the resulting peer-perception gap, researchers compared the importance student grades had on winning a nomination to the weight of the gender bias. The typical student received 1.2 nominations, with men averaging 1.3 and women averaging 1.1.

Female students gave other female students a recognition “boost” equivalent to a GPA bump of 0.04 — too tiny to indicate any gender preference, Grunspan said. Male students, however, awarded fellow male students a recognition boost equivalent to a GPA increase of 0.76.

“On this scale,” the report asserted, “the male nominators’ gender bias is 19 times the size of the female nominators’.”

Source: The remarkably different answers men and women give when asked who’s the smartest in the class

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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