Male Students Underestimate Intelligence of Female Classmates
It’s fairly common knowledge that women are under-represented in science, technology, engineering, and math, areas of study generally grouped together under the acronym STEM. Now research published in PLOS One suggests a root cause of that is plain and simple – male bias.
Surveying 1,500 undergraduate students from three classes over the period of a college quarter yielded very clear results.
Men were more likely to rate other male peers as especially competent and knowledgeable over women. This was true even after accounting for performance and a willingness to speak out loud in class (men had a slight edge in both). In all three classes, men were nominated as the three to four smartest students by the majority of the class, despite the presence of outspoken women who excelled equally.
To put the bias into numbers, researchers concluded that an outspoken women would need to have a 3.765 GPA in order to have as good a chance at being nominated the smartest student as would a man with a 3.00 GPA.
There are well documented studies showing the effects of bias seen at the undergraduate and graduate level, from faculty members spending more time mentoring male students to being more likely to answer e-mails from males.
The study team offers two simple changes to begin to counteract these inequalities – randomly calling on students rather than waiting for someone to raise their hands, and/or hiring more female faculty to serve as role models.
Sourced from: Medical Daily, Men Undervalue How Smart Their Female Classmates Are, And Overvalue Their Male Peers
Published On: Feb 24, 2016
Small Weight Loss Brings Big Health Gains
If you sometimes feel that the mountain of weight loss you need to climb just isn’t worth the effort, a study from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis proves that thinking is plain wrong.
They found that dropping just 5 percent of your body weight will have significantly positive effects on your overall health. For the average American man and woman, that’s about 10 pounds and 8 pounds, respectively.
Researchers looked at 40 obese people. Each was randomly assigned to either a weight loss program or a weight maintenance program. Of the 20 people in the weight loss program, all were required to lose 5 percent of their body weight. Then 10 of these participants were assigned to continue losing weight, with the goal of eventually losing 15 percent of their body weight.
Those who lost that 5 percent saw improvements in risk factors for heart disease and type 2 diabetes. They showed improved insulin sensitivity, lower systolic blood pressure and lower levels of triglycerides (a type of fat linked to heart disease) in their blood.
And the more weight lost, the more health benefits. The group that aimed to lose 10 percent had slightly more dramatic improvements, and the group that aimed to lose 15 percent fared best of all. Greater weight loss was associated with decreased inflammation as well as signs of a better ability to fight oxidative stress, which can damage cells.
So the bottom line is – even if you don’t think your ideal weight is in reach, it can pay great health dividends to lose even a lesser amount.
Sourced from: Live Science, Small Weight Loss Leads to Big Health Gains
Published On: Feb 24, 2016
Impatience May Be in Your Chromosomes
You’ve probably known someone who could charitably be termed a “curmudgeon.” Well, new research indicates that it might be that he or she just can’t help it.
The study, conducted at the National University of Singapore, has found that there may be biological reasons that people seem to get less patient as they get older. Impatient people may be more likely to have shorter telomeres – parts of human chromosomes that tend to get shorter as people age.
Researchers looked at the relationship between impatience and telomere length among 1,158 undergraduate students in Singapore. They measured the participants’ levels of impatience by asking them to choose between receiving a smaller amount of money in a day or more money later.
Each participant also underwent a blood test to assess the length of the individuals’ telomeres, the protective “caps” at the ends of chromosomes. These defend the rest of the chromosome from the erosion, or shortening, that happens each time a cell divides.
First the researchers asked the people to choose between receiving $100 the next day and receiving $101 in about a month. They gradually raised the benefit of waiting the month – $104, $110 – until the last offer involved receiving $128 in about a month’s time. Meanwhile, the first option remained at $100 the following day.
The higher the amount of money it took to convince a person to delay receiving the financial reward by a month, the higher was that person’s level of impatience. Those who showed the least patience tended to have shorter telomeres.
The researchers acknowledged that it’s unclear if having shorter telomeres leads to higher levels of impatience, or if being more impatient leads to having shorter telomeres – or if some other factor is at work.
Sourced from: Live Science, Come on, Already! Impatience Linked to Chromosome Length
Published On: Feb 24, 2016