The Trouble with Bright Girls [link]

The Trouble with Bright Girls (article @ the Huffington Post)


My graduate advisor, psychologist Carol Dweck (author of “Mindset”) conducted a series of studies in the 1980s, looking at how Bright Girls and boys in the fifth grade handled new, difficult and confusing material.

She found that Bright Girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up; the higher the girls’ IQ, the more likely they were to throw in the towel. In fact, the straight-A girls showed the most helpless responses. Bright boys, on the other hand, saw the difficult material as a challenge, and found it energizing. They were more likely to redouble their efforts rather than give up.

The topic of this article seems to relate to several common Less Wrong issues: the nature of human intelligence, and the gender imbalance among LW readers.

I’m not sure how much credence I give to the proposed explanation of the difference in mindsets. It may well have to do with socialization and feedback, but the specific description of feedback that is presented seems a bit too much of a “just-so story” to me. The difference itself is fascinating, though, and I hope more is done to further our understanding of it.