Scientists Say: Stereotype

Just because lots of people believe something doesn’t make it true

hand chalkboard

A boy or a girl might be writing these equations. But stereotypes might lead most people to think it’s a boy. 


Stereotype (noun, “STARE-ee-oh-type”)

This is a belief, view or explanation about something that may not be true. For example, some people may believe that athletes don’t do well in school or that girls aren’t as good at math as boys. But stereotypes such as these are usually wrong, often because they are overly simplified. Some people who enjoy sports may not like the classroom, but others do. And girls are just as talented as boys at math.

In a sentence

There’s a stereotype that boys are better that math and science than girls — a belief that isn’t true at all.

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Bethany Brookshire was a longtime staff writer at Science News Explores and is the author of the book Pests: How Humans Create Animal Villains. She has a Ph.D. in physiology and pharmacology and likes to write about neuroscience, biology, climate and more. She thinks Porgs are an invasive species.

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