Using the right words might be the key to encouraging girls to pursue STEM careers

"Describing science as actions, by saying 'let's do science,' leads to more science engagement than does describing science in terms of identities, by asking them to 'be scientists'" explains Marjorie Rhodes, an associate professor in NYU's Department of Psychology and the senior author of the study, which appears in the journal Psychological Science.

"These effects particularly hold for children who are the target of stereotypes suggesting that they might not be the kind of person who succeeds in science -- in this case, girls," she adds.

These findings suggest that efforts encouraging girls to enter science -- a field in which they are underrepresented -- might benefit from focusing on describing the activity of doing science rather than on encouraging children to adopt scientist identities, at least in early childhood.

To learn more, read "'Doing science,' rather than 'being scientists,' more encouraging to girls" from ScienceDaily.