A new paper in the journal Science suggests an interesting answer. Sarah-Jane Leslie, a philosopher at Princeton University, Andrei Cimpian, a psychologist at the University of Illinois, and colleagues studied more than 1,800 professors and students in 30 academic fields. The researchers asked the academics how much they thought success in their field was the result of innate, raw talent. They also asked how hard people in each field worked, and they recorded the GRE scores of graduate students.News to me that scientists have abandoned the idea of innate talent. So says a woman who switched from philosophy to psychology because of an unconscious belief that philosophy requires talent.
Professors of philosophy, music, economics and math thought that “innate talent” was more important than did their peers in molecular biology, neuroscience and psychology. And they found this relationship: The more that people in a field believed success was due to intrinsic ability, the fewer women and African-Americans made it in that field. ...
But although scientists have abandoned the idea of innate talent, it’s still a tremendously seductive idea in everyday life, and it influences what people do. ...
Why are there so few women in philosophy? It isn’t really because men are determined to keep them out or because women freely choose to go elsewhere. Instead, as science teaches us again and again, our actions are shaped by much more complicated and largely unconscious beliefs. I’m a woman who moved from philosophy to psychology, though I still do both. The new study may explain why—better than all the ingenious reasons I’ve invented over the years.
Saturday, February 07, 2015
Scientists have abandoned the idea of innate talent
The WSJ reports: