Two Stanford Psychologists On Gender Compliment Patrol

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Because complimenting students the wrong way can perpetuate gender bias, they say. “Although ‘Girls are as good as boys at math’ explicitly expresses equality, we predict it could nevertheless suggest that boys have more raw talent,” Eleanor K. Chestnut and Ellen M. Markman write in Cognitive Science: A Multidisciplinary Journal. “In statements with this subject‐complement structure, the item in the complement position serves as the reference point and is thus considered more typical and prominent.”

“This explains why ‘Tents are like houses,’ for instance, sounds better than ‘Houses are like tents’—people generally think of houses as more typical.”