Are boys more creative than girls? This is what studies show

Are girls and boys the same or different?
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The path to a siled mind may well be littered with the good intentions of a parent. No one intends to cut their child’s wings off, but we do – showing them gender constructs that have been refined over generations. It all starts at birth. “The difference in genre and game comes from childhood. When there is a baby, we try to separate the toys, the colors, ”explains Arfa Banu Khan, clinical psychologist, Aster Jubilee Medical Complex, Bur Dubai.

On October 11, International Day of the Girl, another gender divide was on the agenda – a new survey found that creativity is seen by both girls and boys as something that is claimed by a man.

The US-based Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media released its findings in a recording released at the Lego “Girls Are Ready” press conference in 2021. The survey report featured data on creativity perceived by parents and children in Russia, Poland and the Czech Republic. The implicit association test found that parents encouraged their daughters to engage in performing-type or drama-related activities (dancing, singing, performing and dressing up); artistic (cooking, knitting, crafts); and domestic (cooking, cleaning).

Boys, on the other hand, were found to be encouraged to engage in activities involving tools and construction, and were related to computers and technology.

It has been suggested in the past that due to better connections between the left and right side of the brain, girls are better at verbal creativity – for example, in language and the arts. Conversely, due to a seemingly greater engagement on one side of the brain in boys in general, they may be more effective in analyzing and solving science-related problems.

– Dr Walid Ahmed

Paradigm problem

When it came to occupations requiring creativity, both girls and boys tended to associate creative occupations with men rather than women. They relegated nanny roles – like teaching and acting – to women.

Previous research, published in 2015 in the journal “Psychological Science” of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that this association is due to the predisposition of men and women to attribute qualities such as risk taking, adventure. and empowerment – which is associated with creative thinking – to men, not women. “Our research shows that beliefs about what it takes to ‘think creatively’ substantially overlap with the unique content of male stereotypes, creating a systematic bias in how the creativity of men and women is assessed,” Principal Investigator Devon Proudfoot of the Fuqua School of Business. at Duke University was cited by Science Daily.

Unfortunately, this demarcation begins when we are young enough.

Dr Waleed Ahmed, consultant in child, adolescent and adult psychiatry, Priory Wellbeing Center, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, dismisses the well-worn claim that women are as creative as men, saying instead that creativity is expressed and developed in different ways. “Biological and cultural factors are likely to play a role in determining differences in types of creativity, if at all. While an average boy and girl may have similar degrees of creativity, some previous studies suggest that at the upper and lower ends of the creativity spectrum, men are more represented than women. Boys and girls in general can be creative in different ways, ”he explains.

He adds, “For example, it has been suggested in the past that due to better connections between the left and right side of the brain, girls are better at verbal creativity – for example, in language and the arts. Conversely, due to a seemingly greater engagement on one side of the brain in boys in general, they may be more effective in analyzing and solving science-related problems. Great care should be taken in applying population studies to individuals, as each child is unique and distinctly creative. Plus, there are many other recent studies that go against the above thinking trend. “

So how do we create a generation of kids who think in a gender neural way. Who behaves in a non-sexist way?

The difference in gender and play comes from childhood. When there is a baby, we try to separate the toys, the colors.

– Arfa Banu Khan

It all starts, experts say, at home. “What we need to do is avoid this gender bias in the room or in the perception. From the birth of the child, we can make sure that things are neutral. Like, we shouldn’t limit the kid to specific colors or games. If the child is ready to read books [typically popular for a different sex], or prefer certain colors that we think are for girls / boys, we should agree and let them explore that area, ”says Banu Khan.

Here are some other ways to teach your child about gender neutrality.

1. Building a solid foundation: Teach your child that their choices are good no matter what they are. “If the child selects something and we signal that it is not right, the child feels that it is not acceptable, he will generalize the concept that if the parents do not accept it, is also not accepted outside. The foundation at home should be very strong so that no matter where the child goes – whether at school or in the playground, the child should be strong in his preferences and should not be influenced by its peers, ”says Dr Banu Khan.

2. Model the behavior: Children learn by observation, so if you decide that “mom does only this” and “dad does only that,” they will associate these behaviors with these gender roles.

3. Avoid using “boy / girl type” adjectives: Adults have a predilection for calling boys “strong, courageous, intelligent” and girls as “gentle, delicate, cute”. Since children seek their parents’ approval, this type of reinforcement could not only push children into boxes, but also weld those boxes.

4. Don’t make general statements: “All boys are like this” or “All girls like to do this” also reinforce the subliminal messages.

When it comes to creativity in young people, boys are more practical and maybe need to combine this practical element with creativity. Girls generally use more creative games in their creativity.

-Annette Du Bois

5. Let your child choose the toy / activity – and watch whether the child actually likes the toy or just because he is supposed to like it. If you think the chosen toy is not suitable for their gender, hold back and face your own prejudices. Ask yourself why you disagree with your son playing with Barbie or your daughter playing soccer, for example?

6. Combine the type of game for best results: Annette Du Bois, from Champs Academy, UK-based confidence and emotion coach, said: “When it comes to creativity in young people, boys are more practical and maybe need a combination of this. practical element with creativity. Girls generally use more creative games in their creativity. Parents can reduce stereotypical labeling by encouraging both forms of interaction and engaging both elements of the creative process. An example could be mixed play dates and problem solving, and teaching the child to listen to and learn from each other without the parent or adult needing to intervene too quickly.

7. Ask why: When it comes to children’s choices, there has to be an element of analysis. Help them come up with a concept in case of resistance by asking questions. “Parents could also use an example of famous people pushing back against stereotypes to achieve great things. Another good question might be “what if I try this and it helps me (insert specific outcome of feeling I want?),” Says Du Bois.

8. Use metaphor / analogy / storytelling to teach: “Peer pressure is a constant, but parents can use it to teach their child not to let peers influence their feelings and behavior. When you allow a person in your head, you become their prisoner. Children learn more when an appropriate metaphor / story is used in the persuasion mix, ”she adds.

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