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Sex Roles

, Volume 47, Issue 3–4, pp 153–167 | Cite as

Gender Differences in Interest and Knowledge Acquisition: The United States, Taiwan, and Japan

  • E. Margaret Evans
  • Heidi Schweingruber
  • Harold W. Stevenson
Article

Abstract

The relationship between interest and knowledge was investigated in a representative sample of 11th grade students from cultures that differ in the strength of their gender-role stereotypes and their endorsement of effort-based versus interest-based learning. Among 11th graders from the United States (N = 1052), Taiwan (N = 1475), and Japan (N = 1119), boys preferred science, math, and sports, whereas girls preferred language arts, music, and art. General information scores were comparable across the three locations; however, boys consistently outscored girls. Gender and interest in science independently predicted general information scores, whereas gender and interest in math independently predicted mathematics scores. Cultural variations in the strength of the relationship between gender, interest, and scores indicate that specific socialization practices can minimize or exaggerate these gender differences.

culture differences effort gender differences general information interest mathematics 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Margaret Evans
    • 1
  • Heidi Schweingruber
    • 2
  • Harold W. Stevenson
    • 1
  1. 1.Center for Human Growth and DevelopmentUniversity of MichiganAnn Arbor
  2. 2.OERIU.S. Department of EducationWashington, DC

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