Sample Psychology Paper on Gender and Overconfidence

Gender and Overconfidence

This presentation is based on the article “Gender and Overconfidence” published in 2013 and written by Niklas Jakobsson, Minna Levin, and Andreas Kotsadam. The article delivers results of a study, which concluded that boys were more overconfident about their mathematics grade than girls were. The research was carried out among school-going children in El Salvador and compared with a similar research conducted in Sweden. The scholars concluded that mathematics was definitely a masculine task – not a neutral task like the social sciences, in which both boys and girls were overconfident. Further, it was discovered that girls who attended a single-sex school had less confidence in their mathematical abilities than girls in a combined school, which further proved that gender stereotypes were more reinforced in the same-sex school environment.

The research discussed proved that both men and women tend to be overconfident in many areas, although men appear more overconfident (Dahlbom, Jakobsson, Jakobsson, & Kotsadam, 2011). The Swedish experiment found that Swedish boys were more confident in mathematics than girls (Dahlbom et al., 2011). It is also argued that gender differences lead to a segregated labor market in the end due to self-selection (Myers & Twenge, 2017).  In this respect, the presentation revolves around or focuses on the gap regarding confidence levels among male and female school-going children, while comparing the same to the information or findings of the study by Dahlbom et al. (2011).

Researchers carried out an experiment in in girls’ school, single-sex schools, and mixed schools, with children from the same social background, to determine overconfidence in math and social science. They concluded that expected grades differed from actual grades where both boys and girls had overestimated their performance in social sciences (Jakobsson et al., 2013). However, in mathematics, girls underestimated their performance. Earlier research suggested that differences in confidence between boys and girls depend on peer groups. This research showed that girls in mixed schools were overconfident in both mathematics and social sciences. On the other hand, girls in single-sex schools were underconfident regarding their math performance (Jakobsson et al., 2013). Thus, the results proved that boys and girls in single-sex schools differed regarding their confidence levels, whereas girls in mixed schools were found to be overconfident in masculine tasks, which proved that single-sex environments reinforce gender stereotyping.

A survey, conducted in a mixed high school and an all-girls school, required students to respond to questions related to their expected grades in both mathematics and social sciences. Their expectations were later compared to final grades. The results proved that boys were more confident and girls were underconfident in mathematics skills, hence stamping the fact that mathematics results are generalized across all cultures. The importance of this study is that it proved that students who are weak in subjects like grammar and logic are the most overconfident in those subjects because weak students may be ignorant of the fact that they are weak; hence, they may overestimate their performance (Myers & Twenge, 2017).

To sum up, single-sex schooling affects self-confidence as it determines risk-taking and competitive behavior. The differences in the research outcome for the mixed schools and single-sex schools are related to differences in student performance and not expectations (Jakobsson et al., 2013). Similarly, the outcome in mathematics results is driven by culture, stereotypes, and expectations; therefore, boys were found to. Compared to girls, boys performed better in both mixed schools and all-boys schools, which can be explained through stereotypes, related to societal expectations. Likewise, girls were expected to perform better in the social sciences. Girls in mixed schools compete with boys and thus outperform those in all-girls schools. According to results of the research, boys set higher targets, which they can achieve. Additionally, compared to girls, boys are better risk-takers, while girls are better at gender-neutral tasks (Jakobsson et al., 2013).



Dahlbom, L., Jakobsson, A., Jakobsson, N., & Kotsadam, A. (2011). Gender and overconfidence: Are girls really overconfident? Applied Economics Letters18(4), 325-327.

Jakobsson, N., Levin, M., & Kotsadam, A. (2013). Gender and overconfidence: Effects of context, gendered stereotypes, and peer group. Advances in Applied Sociology3(02), 137

Myers, D. G., & Twenge, J. M. (2017). Social psychology. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.