The Population, Society and Inequality Colloquium Series and School of Education present

"Refusing to Fail: Over-Persistence, Under-Persistence, and the Gender Gap in Science"
with Andrew Penner, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, UCI

February 26, 2013
12:30-1:30 p.m.
Social Science Plaza B, Room 4250

Research on gender differences in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields typically focuses on the underrepresentation of women, attributing gender differences to factors like the chilly climate in these fields and women’s choices to avoid STEM. The present study extends this literature in two ways. First, Penner examines where women who leave STEM fields go, and whether their choices to opt out of STEM should be conceptualized as under-persistence. Second, he examines whether men persist excessively in the face of negative feedback in these same fields. Using a novel experimental paradigm, he finds evidence that men tended to choose mathematics over verbal questions in a testing environment where the mathematics problems were extremely difficult and they were paid for performance. Corroborating evidence of this male “over-persistence effect” is also found in college STEM coursetaking behavior, where men are more likely to re-take STEM courses after failing them. This talk will focus on these findings.

For further information, please contact Sandy Cushman, or 949-824-3344.

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