It should come as no surprise to the women in the room.

Men tend to think they are the cleverest among their peers – whether that is true or not.


In the first study of its kind, researchers found that men were far more likely than women to rate themselves above others for intelligence.

Even when a male and female are just as bright as each other, the man is likely to say he is cleverer than two-thirds of the class, while the average woman believes she is better than just over half of her classmates.

The study surveyed 250 students in a university biology class. The findings suggest women underestimate their abilities.

Researchers at Arizona State University asked the students to estimate their own intelligence compared to everyone in the class and to the student they worked with most. When comparing female and male students both with the same grades, males thought they were cleverer than 66 percent of the class, while females thought they were smarter than only 54 percent.

Additionally, men were 3.2 times more likely to say they were cleverer than the student they usually worked with. This matters, the researchers say, because people who think they are less bright participate less in class, which may damage their own learning.

Senior author Dr Sara Brownell said: ‘When students are working together, they are going to be comparing themselves more to each other. This study shows that women are disproportionately thinking that they are not as good as other students.’ Lead author Katelyn Cooper, a doctoral student, was inspired to ask the sexes how they perceived their own intelligence after working as an academic adviser. She said: ‘Over and over again, women would tell me they were afraid other students thought that they were “stupid”.

‘I never heard this from the men in those same biology classes.’


The study, published in the journal Advances in Physiology Education, found almost one in ten students rated people who took a leadership role as being intelligent. Previous evidence suggests men are more likely to do this.

© Daily Mail

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