Differences in verbal skills among people who are also good at math may affect who pursues a career in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, and may partially explain the gender gap seen in such STEM careers, a recent study in Psychological Science says.
Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Michigan conducted a two-wave longitudinal study of 1,490 people, surveying them when they were seniors in high school and then at age 33. From this, the researchers say that students who were skilled in math and who had good verbal skills were less likely to go into STEM fields than people who had a high mathematical ability but a moderate verbal ability were. The researchers note that more women tend to be in the former group than in the latter.
"Our study shows that it's not lack of ability or differences in ability that orients females to pursue non-STEM careers, it's the greater likelihood that females with high math ability also have high verbal ability," Pittsburgh's Ming-Te Wang, the lead author of the study, tells BusinessNewsDaily. "Because they're good at both, they can consider a wide range of occupations."