By: Allison Ford, DivineCaroline
Over the last few decades, touchy-feely self-help books have painted a picture of male-female relationships as something between an ongoing battle and a complete exercise in futility. They lecture that men and women are different, with completely different styles of communication, thinking, and behavior. They’re not just different sexes, they’re from entirely different planets, and never the twain shall meet.
If all these things were true, it would be a miracle that any two people managed to have a functioning relationship at all. Indeed, recent psychological research has shown that women and men are far more alike than they are different, and many of the things that we’re taught about the supposed differences in men’s and women’s brains are nothing but mere myths.
Myth #1: Men Are Better at Math
It’s been established that boys tend to do better on math tests and are more likely than girls to choose math-centric career paths, such as engineering, technology, and computers. The real problem, though, is not an actual biological handicap, but the perception that girls are inferior at math. Many tests, like one professors at the University of Texas and New York University conducted, found that when they tested groups of people who were primed to think about the bias against women, the women scored poorly, but in groups that were primed to think about gender-neutral subjects, the score gap disappeared. This “stereotype anxiety” is a well-known psychological phenomenon in testing, and many researchers now believe it accounts for much of girls’ lower performance on math tests.