Sex Differences in Personal Attributes for the Development of Scientific Expertise
Abstract: 

Society is becoming increasingly scientific, technological, and knowledge-based, depending on the utilization and maximization of human talent and potential (Friedman, 2005). A nation's strength, both economically and civically, is now linked to what it can call forth from the minds of its citizens. Consequently, much attention is being focused on strategies for increasing the number of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professionals produced in the United States and possible untapped pools of talent. For policies to be effective, they need to build on knowledge about what it takes to become excellent in STEM areas. Here, we review a series of known antecedents to achieving excellence in and commitment to math and science domains. Particular focus is on the well-documented sex differences on these attributes and the implications for male versus female representation in STEM disciplines. We do not focus on the educational experiences and opportunities, such as appropriate developmental placement (Benbow & Stanley, 1996; Bleske-Rechek, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2004; Colangelo, Assouline, & Gross, 2004; Cronbach, 1996; Lubinski & Benbow, 2000; Stanley, 2000) or involvement in research (Lubinski, Benbow, Shea, Eftekhari-Sanjani, & Halvorson, 2001), which are important for developing talent in STEM areas; rather, we concentrate on the personal attributes that predispose individuals to pursue and achieve highly in STEM careers (Lubinski & Benbow, 1992; Lubinski, Benbow, Webb, & Bleske-Rechek, 2006; Wai, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2005). This essay is also not about enhancing the scientific literacy of the general U.S. population. That, although critically important, is a different proposition from producing outstanding STEM professionals, the topic of this essay. Through our Study of Mathematically Precocious Youth (SMPY), we have specialized in the latter (Benbow, Lubinski, Shea, & Eftekhari-Sanjani, 2000; Lubinski & Benbow, 2000, 2001; Lubinski, Benbow, et al., 2001; Lubinski et al., 2006; Wai et al., 2005; Webb, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2002) and draw on that work for this review. Focusing on the talented, as SMPY does, is appropriate, given that most STEM professionals come from those in the top 10% in ability (Hedges & Nowell, 1995).

Author(s): 
Lubinski, David S.
Benbow, Camilla Persson
Item Type: 
Book Section
Publication Title: 
Why aren't more women in science?: Top researchers debate the evidence
Publication Date: 
2007
Publication Year: 
2007
Pages: 
79-100
ISBN: 
1-59147-485-X (Hardcover); 978-1-59147-485-2 (Hardcover)
Library Catalog: 
APA PsycNET

Turabian/Chicago Citation

David S. Lubinski and Camilla Persson Benbow. 2007. "Sex Differences in Personal Attributes for the Development of Scientific Expertise." Why aren't more women in science?: Top researchers debate the evidence 79-100.

Wikipedia Citation

<ref> {{Cite journal | doi = | issn = | volume = | pages = 79-100 | last = Lubinski | first = David S. | coauthors = Benbow, Camilla Persson | title = Sex Differences in Personal Attributes for the Development of Scientific Expertise | journal = Why aren't more women in science?: Top researchers debate the evidence | date = 2007 | pmid = | pmc = }} </ref>