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Science Education

“Subtle Linguistic Cues Increase Girls’ Engagement in Science”
By Sarah D. Sparks — February 12, 2019 1 min read
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Girls show stronger persistence in science tasks when they are asked to “do science” rather than “be scientists,” finds a new study in the journal Psychological Science.

Across four experiments with students ages 4 to 9, researchers introduced a game about the scientific method by either asking students to “do science” or “be scientists.” Girls in the first group continued the game longer on average than girls asked to be scientists. Boys who were younger than 5 also preferred the action-related language, while older boys preferred the identity-related language. The findings suggest small differences in language can encourage students who feel threatened by negative stereotypes about performance of people like them.

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A version of this article appeared in the February 13, 2019 edition of Education Week as Science Education

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