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Educ. Sci. 2018, 8(2), 65; https://doi.org/10.3390/educsci8020065

The Myth That Only Brilliant People Are Good at Math and Its Implications for Diversity

1
Department of Psychology, New York University, New York, NY 10003, USA
2
Department of Philosophy, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 March 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dispelling Myths about Mathematics)
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Abstract

A common misconception about math is that it requires raw intellectual talent or “brilliance.” Only students who possess this sort of brilliance are assumed to be capable of success in math-related subjects. This harmful myth has far-reaching consequences for the success of girls and children from ethnic-minority backgrounds in these subjects. Because women and minorities are stereotyped as lacking brilliance, the myth that success in math requires this trait is a barrier that students from these groups have to overcome. In the first part of this paper, we detail the pervasiveness of this myth and explore its relation to gender and race gaps in math and beyond. In the second part, we highlight some potential sources of this myth in children’s everyday experiences and offer some strategies for debunking it. View Full-Text
Keywords: brilliance; giftedness; stereotypes; gender gaps; race gaps; mindsets brilliance; giftedness; stereotypes; gender gaps; race gaps; mindsets
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).
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Chestnut, E.K.; Lei, R.F.; Leslie, S.-J.; Cimpian, A. The Myth That Only Brilliant People Are Good at Math and Its Implications for Diversity. Educ. Sci. 2018, 8, 65.

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