1-11 Natural Passions, Career Choice, and Gender

دوره: Mindshift- Break Through Obstacles to Learning and Discover Your Hidden Potential / فصل: Change IS possible / درس 11

1-11 Natural Passions, Career Choice, and Gender

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Testosterone makes for mustaches, and maybe a bit more cocky behavior, and all sorts of guy things that I tend to kind of like. Okay, here I want to show a chart that reveals how testosterone makes a difference in the development of boys and girls math abilities. As infants and children develop, it turns out that testosterone can serve as a sort of developmental drag on verbal abilities.

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[MUSIC] We should take a few minutes here to touch on the differences between men and women when it comes to natural passions. A biggie here is the hormone testosterone. Testosterone has lots of effects, especially on guys, because guys have lots more of it. Testosterone makes for mustaches, and maybe a bit more cocky behavior, and all sorts of guy things that I tend to kind of like. Even in the womb, guys generally have lots more testosterone than gals. Okay, here I want to show a chart that reveals how testosterone makes a difference in the development of boys and girls math abilities. Well, [LAUGH] obviously, there isn’t really an effect. Where testosterone does have an effect, at least early on, is in verbal abilities. As infants and children develop, it turns out that testosterone can serve as a sort of developmental drag on verbal abilities. So little boys, who have more testosterone, tend on average to get a bit delayed behind girls in their verbal development. This is part of why girls, on average, are more verbally advanced than boys. Remember, boys and girls are roughly equivalent on average in their math and science skills. But when you start to put things together, on average, a girl can look within herself and her own abilities and say, hey, you know what, I’m kind of better at verbal sorts of things. And it’s true. A boy, on the other hand, can look within himself, and say, hey, I’m a little better at math kind of things and that’s true too. And all of these happen even though girls and boys have roughly the same basic ability to do math. Keep in mind that this is just an average. Individuals can vary quite a bit. And while boys can catch up later in their verbal development, by then, their self image has already begun to solidify. We often develop passions about what we’re really good at. As it turns out, it seems easier for girls to get good at subjects requiring strong verbal skills. For boys, quantitative subjects can seem easier than those involving verbal skills. Remember, again this is even though boys and girls have roughly the same basic abilities to do math and science. Unfortunately, what all this does mean is that girls frequent big advantage. Their more advanced verbal skills can inadvertently also serve as a disadvantage. Because of their early verbal advantage, women can sometimes come to believe that their passions lie in language-oriented areas which accounts for part of the reason that there are a fewer women in the technical and scientific fields. Despite the fact that women, as well as men, are strongly needed in those fields. Passions develop about what we’re good at but some things take longer for us to get good at. In fact, research has shown that if something seems hard for us, we can actually learn it better than if it was straightforward and easy. All of this can have a bearing on what career paths we tend to choose, especially when we hear advice like, follow your passion which is often taken to mean, do what comes easiest for you. In the discussion forum, describe what you’ve done or plan to do to broaden your passions in learning, going beyond what you feel you’re naturally good at. You can help inspire us all. I’m Barbara Oakley, happy Mindshift. [MUSIC]

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