Op-Ed on Early STEM

I-LABS research continues to explore gender stereotypes. Recent findings suggest that gender stereotypes can be reversed through experience.

I-LABS researchers Sapna Cheryan, Allison Master, and Andrew Meltzoff looked specifically at the stereotype that STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) are for boys, not girls. They asked 6-year-olds to report who is better at robotics, programming, math, and science. The majority of children said that boys are better at robotics and programming. To further test this stereotype, the researchers asked a group of the 6-year-old girls and boys to program a robot pet with a mobile phone app. Another group played a storytelling game, and the last group played no activity at all. Compared to the girls who did not play at all or those who played a storytelling game, the girls who programmed a robot pet reported more interest in robotics and programming. They also demonstrated more confidence in the skills related to programming and robotics.
These results indicate that gender stereotypes can be changed through experience and socialization. 
Coming soon: I-LABS Outreach and Education Module on STEM