Eine interessante Studie bietet weitere Erklärungen dafür, warum Frauen evtl seltener STEM-Fächer wählen:
A large body of research has documented that females experience more math anxiety than males. Researchers have identified many factors that might explain the relation between sex and math anxiety. In the current study, we present a novel theoretical framework that highlights the importance of examining multiple aspects of processing across different cognitive domains. We use this framework to address the question of what best explains sex differences in math anxiety. One hundred and seventy-five undergraduate students completed a battery of cognitive tasks and affect questionnaires intended to measure actual math ability, perceived math ability, math anxiety, actual spatial ability, perceived spatial ability, and anxiety about situations requiring spatial mental manipulation (spatial anxiety). Results revealed that processes within the spatial domain but not in the mathematical domain mediated the relation between sex and math anxiety, controlling for general anxiety and cognitive ability. Moreover, within the spatial domain, spatial anxiety was the strongest mediator between sex and math anxiety, over actual and perceived spatial ability. Our findings point to spatial anxiety as a key
contributor to the commonly reported sex differences in math anxiety. We conclude by raising the possibility that sex differences in math anxiety, may be rooted in sex-related differences in anxiety about or avoidance of
spatial strategies in solving mathematical tasks.
Die Studie führt an, dass die rein mathematischen Fähigkeiten bei vielen Frauen nicht schlechter sind als bei den Männern, aber das sie beim räumlichen Denken schlechter abscheiden und dieses wiederum in einem gewissen Näheverhältnis zur Mathematik steht und das die entsprechende Abneigung gegen das Lösen von Aufgaben mit räumlichen Denken einen großen Teil der stärkeren Abneigung gegen die Mathematik ausmacht.
Diesen Absatz fand ich sehr interessant:
.2.3. Sex differences in spatial abilities
While there is little evidence of sex differences in mathematics ability, there is extensive evidence of sex differences in ability within the domain of spatial cognition (Halpern et al., 2007; Levine et al., 2016; Voyer et al., 1995). Spatial ability is generally defined as the ability to generate, recall, maintain, and transform visual-spatial information (Lohman, 1996). Spatial ability can further be divided into small- and large-scale abilities (Hegarty, Montello, Richardson, Ishikawa, & Lovelace, 2006). Small-scale spatial skills are characterized by spatial tasks that require the mental manipulation or transformation of shapes or objects, such a mental rotation (Hegarty et al., 2006). Large-scale spatial skills are characterized by tasks that require physical or imagined movement through spatial environments, such as learning one’s way through a new city (Hegarty et al., 2006).
Sex differences, typically in favor of males, have been found for both small and large-scale spatial abilities (Lawton, 2010; Voyer et al., 1995). However, perhaps the most robust and reliable sex differences occur on measures of 3D mental rotation (e.g. Masters & Sanders, 1993). Mental rotation ability is typically measured using a small-scale spatial task that involves mentally manipulating and comparing pictures of 3D figures to determine whether they are the same or different (i.e., mirror images; see Shepard & Metzler, 1971; Vandenberg & Kuse, 1978). In general, males are faster and more accurate than females on these tasks (Masters & Sanders, 1993) and outperform females in the range of 0.5 and 1 full standard deviations (Masters & Sanders, 1993; Nordvik & Amponsah, 1998; Silverman, Choi, & Peters, 2007; Voyer et al., 1995).
As spatial and mathematical abilities are strongly related, spatial ability is an important candidate to consider for explaining the link between sex and math anxiety (Mix & Cheng, 2012). Specifically, individuals with stronger spatial abilities tend to do better in mathematics (Mix & Cheng, 2012). Furthermore, spatial ability has also been shown to be a strong predictor of which high school students enter, enjoy, and succeed in STEM, even after controlling for quantitative and verbal skills (Wai, Lubinski, & Benbow, 2009).
Die Unterschiede im räumlichen Denken wurden hier schon mehrfach diskutiert. Auch die Zusammenhänge mit bestimmten Naturwissenschaften war schon Thema.
Aus der Studie:
The key finding in the current study is that spatial anxiety explains the link between sex and math anxiety. Here, we speculate a potential theoretical explanation for these unexpected findings. Maloney et al. (2012) posited a “pathway to math anxiety” wherein early sex differences in spatial ability (i.e. females have poorer spatial abilities) leads to differences in how males and females first experience learning mathematical content. In this view, poor spatial skills put female children at a disadvantage when developing math skills. These poorer math skills in female children increase the likelihood of negative emotional experiences in the context of mathematics, which increase the likelihood of female children developing higher levels of math anxiety. We propose a refined and extended version of the model proposed by Maloney et al. (2012).
First, it is critical to consider that research consistently reports sex differences in several key spatial abilities, such as spatial visualization, but rarely mathematics abilities (Casey et al., 1995; Else-Quest et al., 2010; Hyde et al., 2008). Yet, spatial skills, especially spatial visualization, have been suggested to play key roles in solving novel and complex math problems, perhaps even more so than familiar ones (Halpern et al., 2007; Mix et al., 2016). What leads to this divergence?
One possibility, briefly outlined in the introduction, is that sex differences in spatial skills (or use of spatial strategies during math problem solving) result in increased spatial anxiety which in turn influences one’s overall anxiety towards mathematics. Indeed, the final post-hoc analysis in the current study that examined the path sex → spatial manipulation ability → spatial manipulation anxiety → math anxiety (Fig. 9) supported this prediction. In view of this model, it follows that individuals with poorer spatial abilities also have heightened spatial anxiety. Moreover, it appears that this anxiety about spatial processing is indeed the key link between spatial ability and math anxiety. This is further supported by the finding that the secondary indirect pathways presented in this post-hoc analysis were not significant. Indeed, in the multi-step mediation analysis (Fig. 9), the sex → spatial manipulation ability → math anxiety, and the sex → spatial manipulation anxiety → math anxiety paths were not significant (whereas the sex → spatial manipulation ability → spatial manipulation anxiety → math anxiety path was significant).
If one is anxious about spatial reasoning, it seems likely that one might also begin to feel anxious more generally about mathematics given that many math problems are inherently spatial or lend themselves to spatial reasoning or spatial strategies. Indeed, various mathematical problems can be solved using a variety of approaches (e.g., visual-spatial vs. verbal-logical; Battista, 1990; Hegarty & Kozhevnikov, 1999). Moreover, spatial skills are related to the types of strategies used to solve mathematical problems (Casey, Lombardi, Pollock, Fineman, & Pezaris, 2017; Hegarty, & Kozhevnikov, 1999; Laski, Reeves, Ganley, & Mitchell, 2013). Accordingly, while there is little evidence of sex differences in actual math ability, there is evidence to suggest that males and females differ in their approaches to spatial and mathematical tasks (Battista, 1990; Gallagher et al., 2000; Heil & Jansen-Osmann, 2008; Pezaris & Casey, 1991). Thus, while males and females might appear similar in math ability, their underlying strategies may differ in the extent to which they recruit spatial processes.
Taken together, it is possible that sex differences in spatial anxiety, and in turn, math anxiety, may be rooted in sex-related differences in the use or avoidance of spatial strategies in solving mathematical tasks
Ich finde die Theorie ganz interessant. Wenn Frauen und Männer unterschiedliche Fähigkeiten im räumlichen Denken haben, dann werden Frauen eben die Bereiche der Mathematik meiden, in denen diese häufiger vorkommen. Vielleicht studieren deswegen vergleichsweise viele Frauen Mathematik, aber sehr weniger etwa Physik oder Maschinenbau.
Nimmt man dann noch die oft besseren sprachlichen Fähigkeiten dazu und den Umstand, dass viele Studienfächer eben „höhere Mathematik“ erfordern, die dann evtl eher auch räumliches Denken erfordert im Gegensatz zur „einfacheren Mathematik“ in der Schule, dann würde das das Bild noch weiter ergänzen.