Academics who believe “brilliance” is a prerequisite for success in their field are more likely to doubt their abilities. It’s a problem that disproportionately affects women, particularly those from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, according to a new study.
The research follows up on a previous finding that in fields that value sheer brilliance over hard work, such as mathematics and physics, fewer women graduate with Ph.D.s. The researchers of that study couldn’t say whether some fields do, in fact, require a greater degree of innate talent. But they concluded the belief itself may “discourage participation among members of groups that are currently stereotyped as not having this sort of brilliance.”