Contrary to popular belief, men are not better at maths, they just think they are.

A recent study shows how it’s a matter of the mindset. Shane Bench, Ph.D. in Social Psychology at Washington State University and his colleagues have shown how smartness is a mind game that men play better.

There are very few women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) fields of work. This is because men are believed to be better than women at maths.

Bench states that this is not true. Women suffer from what he calls “stereotype threat”. This is the “social-psychological threat arising from a situation or activity for which a negative stereotype about one’s group applies.” In this case, the stereotypes associated with gender roles have caused women to lose faith and give up on their abilities.

After giving a group of men and women two tests, Bench found that men overestimated their results while women were closer to accuracy. Women were more realistic about their abilities. And on the opposite end of the spectrum, men are overconfident in their abilities and this is what drives them to enter STEM fields. He blames men’s overconfidence for their dominance in these fields.

Furthermore a study done by Catherine Amelink and Elizabeth Creamer, professors at Virgina Tech, proves that women perform better in maths than men, at elementary school level.

Women are smarter than men, but stereotypes and society state otherwise. It is men’s overconfidence that drives them to succeed and dominate in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics world.