Psych professor Sheri A. Berenbaum and her team recently published the results of a studyin which they claim that a person’s exposure to certain sex hormones in utero strongly predicts career choices made later in life. Specifically, Berenbaum thinks she’s figured out why girls don’t like science: "...maybe women aren’t going into [Science, Technology, Engineering or Math] careers because what they’re interested in—people—isn’t consistent with an interest in STEM careers."
This assumption—that women like working with "people" (as teachers, etc.) while men like working with "things" (as scientists, etc.)—is the core of this experiment’s design, and unfortunately, it’s rotten. Before I get to that, though, a word on the study’s methodology. In order to test the effects of hormones, the researchers studied female and male teenage and young adults who had congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)—a genetic condition that results from being exposed to an excess of the male sex hormone androgen while in utero—in comparison to their non-CAH siblings. According to this and previous studies’ findings, women with CAH tend to have interests “similar to stereotypically male ones.”