Gender stereotypes emerge early, and by the age of six, girls are less likely to believe females are "brilliant" and more likely to believe boys are, according to a study this week. The report in the journal Science was based on a study involving 400 children aged between five and seven, who were given a series of tasks. In one, the kids were told a short story about a person who was "really smart", but were given no hints about whether the person was male or female. At age five, boys and girls were equally likely to choose their own gender as "really smart". But by age six and seven, "girls were significantly less likely than boys to associate brilliance with their own gender", said the study. This may have important implications for the career paths that women choose, perhaps steering them away from fields associated with brilliance, like physics and philosophy, said lead author Lin Bian of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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