This article in the Guardian on how smart kids can’t be popular reminded me of this from the New York Times on why more girls don’t do math – particularly at the highest levels where the numerical arts are most creative.
Key quote from the NYT article:
“Kids in high school, where social interactions are really important, think, ‘If I’m not an Asian or a nerd, I’d better not be on the math team.’ Kids are self selecting. For social reasons they’re not even trying.”
And from the Guardian:
One girl told the researchers: “My friends are all really nice people and have [a] really good sense of humour, and they’re all really pretty and stuff, but because they do well in school they’re not popular.”
As far as I can tell this situation — common in both England and America — does not apply in China. I’ve had to explain the negative associations of a ‘teacher’s pet’ to teenagers here and from what they tell me smart kids are the popular ones.