There are many psychological mechanisms that make any false stereotypes very “tenacious”. One of them is the so-called threat of confirming the stereotype, depriving discriminated against people of faith in yourself. However, a recent study showed that the perception of chess as “male” things are not difficult for women to demonstrate a high level during the game.
The essence of the threat of confirming the stereotype is that people expect low results in a particular area, concerned that they do not succeed to cope with this challenge. It makes them either avoid areas in which certain skills are needed, or indeed to make mistakes influenced by their own excitement, thereby only confirming to themselves and others “correct” erroneous assumptions. Previous experiments, in particular, has shown that black students are discriminated against, worse cope with certain tasks, if they pre-announced that results would be used to assess their intelligence.
Scientists from the University of Sheffield in the UK has suggested that similar pressure can be and women playing chess. Since “women” are less likely to choose this area for your professional career, the common stereotype that they are less successful, and this might prevent women from playing “full force” against men.
The experts gathered information about 160 thousands of professional chess players and 5 million matches played by them. The results showed that the players showed during the games, a better result than one would assume based solely on their rating. This has been observed, including during matches, which the woman played against men.
According to experts, the main conclusion of their study is not even the fact that women play chess better than expected, and that professional chess players are able to successfully overcome the psychological pressures associated with the existence of such a stereotype.
The study was published in the journal Psychological Science.
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