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Math–Gender Stereotypes in Elementary School Children

Stereotypes are mental images of qualities characterizing members of a social group without regard to individual variation. This entry focuses on the development of stereotypes in children. It specifically examines the pervasive American stereotype that boys, more than girls, are identified with mathematics. In this entry, the term math–gender stereotype is used to indicate the belief that math is predominantly a male domain. Stereotypes are distinguished from self-concepts. These terms are often confused in the learning sciences, but they can be usefully differentiated in ways that allow for new empirical progress. Self-concepts concern the self (e.g., I am a math person), whereas stereotypes refer to a social group (boys do better at). A central empirical question is how cultural stereotypes influence children's developing self-concepts. This ...

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