The gender gap in confidence, revisited — gender differences in research reporting

His team analyzed more than 100,000 medical studies and 6.2 million life sciences article that were published over a 15-year period, finding that women-authored studies were 12 percent less likely to contain at least one of a group of 25 positive terms, including “favorable,” “excellent” and “prominent.” In the most prestigious and influential journals, women were 21 percent less likely to describe their findings with such words.

Male authors deployed the word “novel” 60 percent more often than their female counterparts. “Unique” was used 44 percent more often by male authors, and “promising” was used 72 percent more often by male authors.

Here is the article, here is the unique study itself.


I’d noticed this anecdotally myself. A good follow-up study would be to try to determine reception when women use the same overwhelmingly positive verbiage to describe their work. My suspicion is that they’d be met with greater skepticism than men.

My thought was that they were trained to tone things down, keep emotion out of it. Or trained themselves.

The real study should be how long did it take and how many data dredges did it take to come up with something to be used to elevate women and disparage men?

So men measurably exaggerate while self-aggrandizing - somebody needed to measure this?

You are not the real Just Saying! Fake News!

So, did the difference in capitalisation tip you off?

Do you think Anonymous is not the real anonymous? Or is Just Saying too novel or unique to have its brand diluted?

We wait until the conclusion to get the note that the causation may be reverse: the work using these terms is actually more unique and important on average. Work using these terms is much more cited, even controlling for journal, year, and field. Which Occam's Razor makes sense to you: that tiny increases in the positivity of words in the abstract drives a 10% increase in citations, or that the work using these terms in fact reflects real differences in quality or importance?

I can believe that there are differences in language choice by gender - but the implications drawn in the linked BMJ editorial are in no way shown by this research.

Yes, men are so obviously superior that these statistics are clearly explained by their inherent superiority - "Male authors deployed the word “novel” 60 percent more often than their female counterparts. “Unique” was used 44 percent more often by male authors, and “promising” was used 72 percent more often by male authors."

Should I have defined self-aggrandizing? Women are the verbally superior gender, maybe they just assume men understand words that sail over their heads.

Ph Ds in your area are using this one weird trick to get published.

+1, humorous

Boris Johnson can hit my back wall anytime!

Here is the correct link to the study (not editorial):

Oh, yes, the overconfident male. Let's see, who is America's most famous overconfident male? Could that be Mr. Trump? I suppose I should point out that economists, mostly male, are notoriously overconfident in their predictions, the wrongness of their predictions worn like a badge of honor.

Aren't we all steely-eyed economists here who realize incentives matter? Confidence attracts women, so men burnish it.

Confidence attracts idiots along many different dimensions.

That looks like you are calling women idiots....

Hope she reads this bro.

The selection pressure for male confidence comes entirely from women. We are overconfident braggarts because women made us that way. It's their fault, so everyone except me should STFU about it.

One is reminded of Obama's humble analysis:

"I think that I'm a better speechwriter than my speechwriters. I know more about policies on any particular issue than my policy directors. And I'll tell you right now that I'm gonna think I'm a better political director than my political director."

Would be interesting to do a FU study comparing US vs non-US authors...

Men have made most of the intellectual breakthroughs in the fields I know of. Maybe men use "novel" because they brag more, but maybe their papers are also more novel. How do you know which factor is more important ?

I feel your pain.

Keep America Great -Trump 2020.

Because of lying Schiff, Nadler, Pelosi, Comey, Brennan, et al Trumps gets a third term. Nine More Years!

Many people have expressed this fear, recently Gary Kasparov. I believe it is in the public interest to relieve silly people of some of their money, so I'm putting together a betting pool for those who think Trump remains in office after January 20, 2025.

What kind of odds would you like, or are you just bloviating?

Go away troll!

New classic English nursery rhyme:

Boris Johnson’s big Johnson
Up my ass
Up my ass
Up my ass
Boris Johnson’s Big Johnson
Up my ass
All the live-long day

Compelling argument. Maybe you should be giving me odds.

The OK sign? Really? It’s literally a 4chan troll.

Ugh, Boomers, learn to internet.

Tyler, if you are going to take this down, take it ALL down.

Brian was actually one the guys who told is in 2017 that everything would be fine, and nothing bad would happen.

Bad things did happen.

Should we really have to listen to this again, uncontested?

I have observed that

Men's posts

Are often self-recommending.

I recommend this comment also because it is, well,


You forgot "do read the whole thing".

I find it suspicious that the subtitle of the article is "Men are more positive, should they exercise restraint?" This seems like a biased perspective, why not say "Women are more negative, should they promote their work more strongly?" It suggests a bias by the authors against males, who need to change and makes me skeptical of the rest of their conclusions.

Just read the abstract:

"Perhaps an obvious response to these findings is to encourage women to act more like men and be more positive; however, caution is warranted as this “fix the women” approach lacks an understanding of the current evidence base on gender equity. We should instead use an approach aligned with experts in equity, diversity, and inclusion who favor fixing the systems that support various types of bias including implicit (unconscious), structural, and organizational."

I presume this is an actual paper and not a parody. There are always at least two approaches to success. In this case it breaks down to: 1) You can beat the best at their game, or 2) try to change the rules to eliminate their advantage.

This paper seems to be advocating changing the existing rules.

Stay in your lane pal.

There is no evidence or expertise to be had among the diversity apparatchiks.

It's the 'Althouse Rule' in action yet again -- whenever you report sex differences in the literature, you must do it in a way to portray whatever is true about women as superior.

At an effectively all-female workplace, the higher-ups proudly revealed a new mission statement, a long string of words, the fruit of many weeks huddled together behind closed doors. Things we aspired to be. I don't remember any of them, but I do remember that they all started with A - or maybe it was C - and that by about the 14th word it was starting to get a bit strained.

Is there a gender gap in alliteration use? What would it tell us? How can we fix it?

I post stuff like that to get more crazy talk from Never Land.

The fifteen years in question would have been/were (roughly) the decade-and-a-half since 2001, correct? Everyone's confidence may have suffered a bit across this period.

It may be worth keeping in mind, too, that most of the female authors cited would have obtained their credentials prior to the Clinton/Lewinsky drama and embarked on their professional research careers in the years following.

American feminist ideology across at least the three most recent decades plainly has suffered from a distinct lack of credibility, especially among credentialed male feminist cheerleaders in prominent media and political roles. As vocal as many a male media mouth may have been over recent decades, not even prominent male feminist apologists put much stock in feminist ideology, as their sudden downfalls have since shown.

Because previously vocal male feminist apologists have shown that their loyalties do not lie with feminist ideology, feminist ideology suffers from a profound crisis of belief from which arguably it has not yet begun to recover.

Another useless study who will create more animosity between people for no measurable benefit. Keep going team.

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