NEW PhDs in maths and physics are earned mostly by men, while—in America at least—half of those in molecular biology and neuroscience are awarded to women. In the social sciences and humanities, art history and psychology are dominated by women, and economics and philosophy by men. A new paper thinks prejudice is to blame. The paper’s authors, led by Sarah-Jane Leslie of Princeton university and Andrei Cimpian of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, hypothesize that the crucial variable is something they call field-specific ability (basically, innate talent)—or, rather, a belief in this quality by those already entrenched in a discipline. They have found that the more existing professors think some special talent, beyond intelligence and hard work, is required to do their subject well, the lower will be the percentage of PhD students in that subject who are women.
Read the article Beliefs and Brilliance here.