Adolescents' and Emerging Adults' Implicit Attitudes about STEM Careers: "Science is Not Creative"

S Valenti, A Masnick, B Cox, C Osman
2016 Science Education International   unpublished
Although interest in science and math is often high in the elementary grades, interest in choosing science and math careers drops off beginning in junior high school for both genders, but especially for girls. By high school, a shift towards increased rigor is often accompanied by a lack of creativity in the way that scientific disciplines are taught. The Implicit Association Test (IAT) was administered to male and female high school students to test their implicit associations of science with
more » ... reativity. In a follow-up study, the IAT was administered to male and female college students in order to measure implicit associations of science with creativity, and associations of science with self. Results showed that the association of science with lack of creativity was present for young women in high school as well as college, but for young men the science-uncreative association was evident only among the college population. Only college-aged women showed a significant association of science with others (not self). Interest in science careers for women, but not for men, was predicted by a science-creative implicit association. These findings underscore the importance of implicit beliefs about the nature of scientific practice for understanding adolescents' and emerging adults' interest in science careers.