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Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
SJR: 0.504 SNIP: 0.671 CiteScore™: 1.65

ISSN Print: 1072-8325
ISSN Online: 1940-431X

Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering

DOI: 10.1615/JWomenMinorScienEng.v8.i2.30
11 pages

MATHEMATICIANS, ATTRIBUTIONAL COMPLEXITY, AND GENDER

Daniel R. Stalder
University of Iowa; University of Wisconsin-Waukesha, Department of Psychology, 1500 N. University Drive, Waukesha WI 53188

ABSTRACT

Given indirect indications in sex role and soda! psychology research that mathematical-deductive reasoning may negatively relate to social acuity, Study 1 investigated whether mathematicians were less attributionally complex than nonmathematicians. Study 1 administered the Attributional Complexity Scale, a measure of social acuity, to female and male faculty members and graduate students in four Midwestern schools. Atlrihutional complexity (AC) is the ability and motivation to give complex explanations for behavior. Study 1 found a significant interaction between field and gender. Only among women did mathematicians score lower on AC. In addition, an established gender difference in AC (that women score higher than men) was present only among nonmathematicians. Studies 2 and 3 offered some preliminary support for the possibility that it is generally female students who score tow on AC who aspire to he mathematicians and for the underlying view that female students' perceived similarity to mathematicians can influence their vocational choices.


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