Fine Tuning: Beyond Stereotypes

Men brag. They are dismissive and don't listen. They don't analyze their own actions. They talk only of their own research. They criticize others rudely, with no regard for feelings. Always trying to one-up each other, they are too competitive. Women qualify everything they say. They appear hesitant. They don't speak up, especially at meetings. They try to empathize with everyone. They can't take a joke. They aren't critical enough. They are indirect in giving opinions or giving orders. They do

Kathy Barker
May 12, 2002
Men brag. They are dismissive and don't listen. They don't analyze their own actions. They talk only of their own research. They criticize others rudely, with no regard for feelings. Always trying to one-up each other, they are too competitive.

Women qualify everything they say. They appear hesitant. They don't speak up, especially at meetings. They try to empathize with everyone. They can't take a joke. They aren't critical enough. They are indirect in giving opinions or giving orders. They don't know how to take credit for their own work. They take things too personally.

These are some of the communication stereotypes principal investigators relate when interviewed about lab management. But despite supporting evidence, many scientists still doubt that differences in male and female communication merit serious consideration. Labs are generally accommodating places, with people of many cultures working productively and cooperatively together, and the burden of gender differences seems...