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Do Romantic Thoughts Reduce Women’s Interest in Engineering?

If romance reduce girls’ pursuit in engineering, probably the reverse is also true that girls choose engineering have less interest in romance as well. They should do a follow up research and survey a large sample of engineering girls, see how many of them had a boyfriend in high school.

Now, someone should come up with a research showing male engineers are not romantic, so Pat cannot complain I am not romantic.

BY Steven Cherry, IEEE Spectrum, Fri, August 26, 2011
A new study suggests thoughts of romance can reduce college women’s interest in science and engineering

In the 1960s, when women first began enrolling at universities in record numbers, many people wondered: “Why weren’t more of them studying engineering?” Fifty years later, we’re still wondering. Only one in seven U.S. engineers is a woman. The so-called “engineering gender gap” is still a chasm.

And that’s not likely to change very quickly. The average college graduate nowadays is a woman—57 percent to 43—but when it comes to the so-called STEM fields, that’s science, technology, engineering, and math, women account for only 35 percent. And most of those are for life and physical sciences, not engineering or computer science.

It’s a problem perhaps best examined by psychologists, and examining it they are. And a new series of studies argues that—as clichéd as it sounds—maybe love really does have something to do with it.

An article based on the studies, will be published next month in the peer-reviewed journal, Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

My guest today is the paper’s lead author. Lora Park is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Buffalo, in New York, and principal investigator at the Self and Motivation Lab there. She joins us by phone.A new study suggests thoughts of romance can reduce college women’s interest in science and engineering

Effects of Everyday Romantic Goal Pursuit on Women’s Attitudes Toward Math and Science

Abstract:
The present research examined the impact of everyday romantic goal strivings on women’s attitudes toward science, technology,engineering, and math (STEM). It was hypothesized that women may distance themselves from STEM when the goal to be romantically desirable is activated because pursuing intelligence goals in masculine domains (i.e., STEM) conflicts with pursuing romantic goals associated with traditional romantic scripts and gender norms. Consistent with hypotheses, women, but not men, who viewed images (Study 1) or overheard conversations (Studies 2a-2b) related to romantic goals reported less positive attitudes toward STEM and less preference for majoring in math/science compared to other disciplines. On days when women pursued romantic goals, the more romantic activities they engaged in and the more desirable they felt, but the fewer math activities they engaged in. Furthermore, women’s previous day romantic goal strivings predicted feeling more desirable but being less invested in math on the following day (Study 3).

Link to the paper: http://www.buffalo.edu/news/pdf/August11/ParkRomanticAttitudes.pdf

3 comments to Do Romantic Thoughts Reduce Women’s Interest in Engineering?

  • I am a male student doing engineering law. It appears to me that most female who got the talent to do engineering/science can probably do law, some of them medicine. Statistically women are better at human relationships with male of the same IQ ( I do have authority for that, but I believe that’s true, given women are better than men in relationship generally), they end off better doing law, where their ability in human relationship rewards them. Moreover, the gender bias and things like that are a bit less in law.

  • Correction : engineering and law instead of engineering law, it’s a double degrees.

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