Math Brain was inspired in part by the work of Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck. In a research paper titled “Is Math a Gift? Beliefs That Put Females at Risk,” Dweck describes her findings that when girls perceive intellectual ability, particularly when it comes to math, as a gift (something you either have or don’t), they often become defeated when presented with a challenge. As a result, they are more likely to buy into negative stereotypes surrounding their involvement in STEM fields. Oppositely, girls who believe math is skill that can be developed, like riding a bike, fare far better: they’re more likely to find their way through challenges, and often outperform their male counterparts. 

Boys don’t have the same problem, Dweck found. In general, boys are energized by challenges. And if they believe that mathematical ability is an innate gift, they also usually assume that they have it.

To read about Dweck's discoveries in more detail , click here.