How gender biased are our children in their drawing of a scientist?

Activity: Academic Talks or PresentationsOral presentationResearch


Chambers’ Draw-a-Scientist Test (DAST) has been widely used to investigative children’s stereotypical representation of a scientist. Based on research using Chambers’ DAST, a recent meta-analysis reports that American children’s gender biased view of a scientist has decreased in the past 5 decades. However, the tendency to associate male with scientists is still notable, especially in boys. This study aimed to explore the gender-science stereotypes in British primary school children. 272 (51.5% female) pupils in Years 4-6 from three different primary schools completed the Draw-a-Scientist Test. The drawing was coded to measure their stereotypical views of a scientist using Chambers’ DAST scheme and a new coding scheme. British children in the present study showed comparatively lower DAST scores, suggesting a less gendered representation of a scientist with no significant age difference. However, using a more refined coding scheme revealed subtle differences in how a scientist is represented in boys’ and girls’ drawing. Boys in the current study predominately drew a male scientist (81.8%) who was also old (21%) whereas more girls drew a female scientist (55.1%) who was rarely shown as being old (6.6%). Chambers’ DAST coding scheme did not capture significant developmental differences in the way gendered associations of a scientist were represented in the children’s drawings. Many of the drawings showed a lab bench with apparatus such as beakers and test tubes, indicating the child’s attempt to pictorially represent ‘science’.
Period4 Sep 2019
Event titleCognitive Psychology Section & Developmental Psychology Section Joint Conference 2019
Event typeConference
LocationStoke on Trent, United KingdomShow on map
Degree of RecognitionNational