Study Suggests Expectations Key to Math Ability

Washington (AP) -- Mathematic ability may be just a state of mind.

Canadian researchers say women who are told that men and women have equal math abilities get more right answers than women who are told there's a genetic difference.

And women who heard there are differences caused by environment, like math teachers giving more attention to boys, outperformed those who were reminded only that they are females.

A University of British Columbia psychology professor says the findings suggest genetic explanations can be a powerful influence, and can lead to "self-fulfilling prophecies."

A Harvard University president lost his job after he suggested last year that innate gender differences could help explain why fewer women get to the top in university science jobs.

Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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