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Women suffer a significant loss of confidence as they develop into adults while confidence in boys grows during their teenage years, a new study has found. Researchers found that while pre-teen boys and girls are equally willing to take risks in high-stakes situations, girls lose this confidence by adulthood.
When in a male-dominated environment, girls are more likely both to take on risks and perform worse than they would do in an all-female or mixed gender environment, the study found. The scientists, from Stockholm University, came to their conclusions while studying the behavior of contestants on the Swedish version of the TV game show Jeopardy.
The study's authors, Dr. Jenny Save-Soderbergh and Gabriella Sjogren Lindquist, both from the Swedish Institute for Social Research at Stockholm University, provided two theories for the finding:
- Women may sense 'conflict' between 'behaving competitively' for their own gain and 'behaving attractively' – for instance, taking actions they believe are expected of them.
In addition, because making higher wagers was not strategically advantageous for girls when they were competing against boys only, this finding might be considered to reflect feelings of intimidation in the presence of boys that therefore causes girls to be prone to making mistakes," the researchers said.