Science Education Articles

Women in the Sciences: Fire Up Your Inner Dilbert

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

Dilbert lives.

The socially awkward engineer is turning up in research labs—and not only as the guy in the lab coat.

Research out of Cornell University and published in the journal of the International Society for Autism Research found that in male university students, systemizing (the skills of math and science) and empathizing (including such social skills as reading nonverbal signals) are on one scale: if they’re good at systemizing they’re not so good at empathizing. (Standard disclaimer: This does not apply to all engineer/science-type men.)

Women, on the other hand, could be good at both systematizing and empathizing; the two are on separate scales.

Actually, the researchers also checked digit (finger) ratios, a way of measuring the amount of androgens, such as testosterone, people were exposed to in utero. They found that women in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) were likely to have a masculine digit ratio.

So Dilberta lives, too. (Dilbertina?)


 

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