Do young children favour boys over girls?

A new study published in American Psychologist looks at evidence of bias against women and girls for jobs or activities requiring intellectual ability.

Andrei Cimpian conducted a series of three experiments to test for evidence of gender bias and its developmental roots. In the two initial experiments, more than 1,150 participants (mean age 35 years) were asked to refer individuals for a job. The results showed that participants were less likely to refer a woman when the job description mentioned intellectual ability (43.5% female referrals) than when it did not (50.8%).

In the third experiment, the researchers looked at whether young children favour boys over girls for intellectually challenging activities. Children ages five to seven (n= 192) were recruited from a small mid-western city in the US, and taught how to play a team game. Half of the children were told that the game was for “really, really smart” children, the other half were not. Children were then asked to select three teammates from among six children (three boys and three girls) they did not know.

Initially, the children selected teammates of the same gender as themselves (so, girls chose the other girls, and boys chose the other boys), but by the third selection round they became less likely to select girls as teammates for the “smart” game (37.6% girls selected) than for the control game (53.4%). Girls were less likely to select other girls as teammates across selection rounds, particularly for the “smart” game.

Source: Evidence of bias against girls and women in contexts that emphasize intellectual ability (December 2018), American Psychologist 73(9)

40 years of bullying research

A special school bullying and victimization issue of American Psychologist includes six papers.

The introduction article “Four Decades of Research on School Bullying” takes the reader through section summaries on “Linking Peer Victimization to Adjustment in Childhood and Adolescence,” “Prospective Studies Following Children Forward Into Adulthood,” and “Mediators and Moderators: What Contributes to Defining Pathways?” The article finishes with a look at conclusions, implications, and future directions.

“Long-Term Adult Outcomes of Peer Victimization in Childhood and Adolescence: Pathways to Adjustment and Maladjustment” looks at negative outcomes caused by bullying and analyses findings from studies that investigate why not all victims of bullying have similar outcomes in adult life.

“Translating Research to Practice in Bullying Prevention” examines findings from various studies and meta-analyses of bullying prevention programmes and makes recommendations for further research. The author (Catherine P. Bradshaw of the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia) has written previously for this newsletter’s sister publication Better: Evidence-based Education.

Source: Bullying: What We Know Based On 40 Years of Research (2015), American Psychologist, 70(4).