Wednesday, March 4, 2009

great headline

So I love how this study seems like a reasonably legitimate study with reasonably legitimate (and interesting/non-traditional results), and the headline connotes poorly.

I can think of several better headlines.

Study: Dearth of Women in Math not from Innate Differences
Why Women Don't Choose Math

And other such headlines which don't blare out such negative connotations between women and math. Stupid scientist->journalist->reader translation. Can you think of a better headline?


Ambivalent Academic said...

Wow - that title sucks, especially after reading the article (which I thought was pretty decent).

Your suggested titles are way better.

Women's success in math is in addition to other aptitudes - ?

I think that the other should write a follow-up piece entitled:

"Why I Am A Misogynistic Douchebag"

Nicky said...

Oh, come on, why not go all out:

"Why Women Fail at Math Even When They Don't Totally Suck"

I like AA's suggested Douchebag followup, too.

JLK said...

*the psych geek weighs in*

I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and use the confirmation bias as my supporting hypothesis.

People have a consistent tendency to seek out information that confirms their beliefs. This is the confirmation bias.

So, if you are trying to change the minds of people who have a certain belief, your best bet in attracting them is to lead them in with something that at first appears to confirm those beliefs. Even if it doesn't change their views, it at least exposes them to the opposing viewpoint - something that might not have happened otherwise.

If the person who wrote the headline had instead chosen something like "Why Women Don't Choose Math," someone who believes that women just aren't good at math because they're women is not likely to read that article, writing it off as "another BS attempt to explain something I know to be true for a different reason."

Personally, I'm psyched that this article made it into the press, and if they purposely manipulated the headline to attract a wider audience then I'm even more psyched that they took that into consideration.

Frozone said...

How about,

Barbie says, "Math is hard"


PhizzleDizzle said...

AA: I like the douchebag idea. :)

Nicky: do you ever get "chicks can't code" type jokes? man, that gets old.

JLK, that is a really interesting point. I wonder whether there will ever be a way to measure what types of people clicked on that link and read it.

I know I read it ready to be pissed after reading the headline. I read it in order to figure out how exactly to be pissed. Of the types of people you mention, I wonder how many people who think women suck at math read the headline, agreed with it, and then actually read the article far enough in to disagree with the content and perhaps have their minds changed. I'm not sure I think the answer is "a lot."

Frozone: That was an interesting post you linked. All the way through high school, I freakin loved math and science. Those poll numbers depress me. I know that when I first read about the talking barbie that said math was hard, I nearly went ballistic, thinking wtf is wrong with these stupid toy makers??