Research Library

The perception of certain academic disciplines requiring a special type of brilliance (vs. motivation and sustained effort) may help explain the underrepresentation of women in those fields. The authors suggest that faculty and graduate students convey their own attitudes to undergraduate students, who internalize these beliefs before making career decisions. Given the stereotype that fewer women than men possess this type of "brilliance", female undergraduates may feel discouraged from pursuing advanced degrees in fields perceived to be particularly dependent on this type of brilliance. Since they are not subject to the same stereotype, male students may not experience this same concern.