Photographer: Joos Mind/Getty Images

Women in Medical School Are Wrong About How Smart They Are

A new study shows that women doubt themselves more than men do when answering medical questions

Ladies, if you needed one more reason to love yourselves, just peruse the March 3 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine, if you haven’t already.

The issue featured a telling comparison of responses given by men and women to medical questions on the mobile platform Osmosis, a service designed to help medical students study (through studying, not osmosis). The analysis, conducted by researchers at New York University’s School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, found that while women were more likely to give correct responses than men, they were less confident about their answers. The study identified women by using software to determine sex, based on a person’s first name.

Osmosis makes the people using its platform indicate just how good they feel about themselves, before they answer each question, by checking boxes next to “I’m sure,” “Feeling lucky,” or “No clue.” Women said "I'm sure" 40 percent of the time before entering responses into the system, compared to 44 percent for men. 

The confident women were slightly more justified than the men in feeling that way: Some 81 percent of women who said they were sure got the question right, compared to 78 percent of men. Women were also more likely to say they had no clue than men, but they were equally likely to answer accurately. Overall, women gave correct responses to a slightly higher share of questions than men did. 

 

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