Ladies Don't Speak Up in Meetings Because Smart People Make Us Feel Dumb

The news that feeling insecure about speaking up in a meeting is "all in your head" is supposed to be "good" news, according to the jerks at the Today show. See, a recent study from the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute found that when people work in small groups, their IQ can lower if the folks around them are smart. For instance: You're in a meeting, and everyone has brilliant ideas. Suddenly you start feeling like your idea is lame, and when you do open your mouth to talk, whatever comes out is idiotic. It's not your imagination. It's science!


According to Today:

They tested the volunteers' IQ to get a baseline figure, then (cruelly) shared those scores with the group. Now everyone in those little groups knew where they stood, intelligence-wise — and knowing their rank was enough to shake the confidence of some group members, particularly among the women. The participants were again given an IQ test, and even though initially all the subjects scored above average, the second test showed a much wider range of scores.

Again: just knowing she's sitting next to someone bright makes a lady feel like a dullard.

As Read Montague, who lead the study, puts it: "You may joke about how committee meetings make you feel brain dead, but our findings suggest that they may make you act brain dead as well."

Even though this study deals with adults, it makes me think of all those times, as a kid, I tested incredibly well and ended up in a good school or honors class, only to "underperform" or make so-so grades. Why is the ladybrain afraid of being great?

Why it's hard for women to speak up in meetings [Today]
Group settings can diminish expressions of intelligence, especially among women [VTC]



I wonder if they came up with any solutions in this study? For instance, I know that in regard to stereotype threat, "priming" students with thoughts of successful/influential people of their own race/gender/whathaveyou basically eliminated the score disparity that existed as a result of stereotype threat. Would a similar tactic (ie. priming oneself with thoughts of brilliant outspoken women before a meeting) work in scenarios like this?

Speaking as a high-IQ but hella shy chick who will be starting law school in the fall...