By Nicole Brewer


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When you think of someone really, really smart, who do you see? If you’re a 6-year-old girl, chances are the opposite sex.

Daryl Archie of Mount Airy reacted, saying, “wow, that’s insane.”

Renee Green of Philadelphia wasn’t as surprised. “I can believe that. I remember that from my own upbringing.”

Danny Villanova of Maryland said, “it’s what society feeds you.”

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Frances Loeb of Wynnewood also weighed in saying, “it’s definitely discouraging, I think. But, not surprising.”

New research published in the Journal Science found that at age five, girls see themselves as being just as capable as their male counterparts. But, by six, they associate brilliance more often with boys.

Researchers believe the turning point comes when girls enter school, absorbing more social stereotypes from the media, peers, parents and teachers.

Katie Scoboria of Reading said, “men we study in textbooks, who have these great inventions.”

Green added, “based on who you see in power, who you see running business.”

Archie said, “I’m thinking it has to do with doll babies and putting the girls in kitchenette sets.”

“These stereotypes can really build up and accumulate,” said Dr. Andrei Cimpian, a psychology professor at New York University, who co-authored the study, which also found these perceptions can impact interests, even alter career paths.

From physics to philosophy, Cimpian and his fellow researchers contend it’s why women are under-represented in fields that cherish brilliance.