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C o m SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN MIND COPYRIGHT 2007 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN, INC. 33 ) ful study of human schadenfreude that Tania Singer, now at the University of Zurich, and her colleagues published in Nature in early 2006. The researchers found that in both men and women, seeing the pain of a person one has just cooperated with activates pain-related brain areas. But if a man felt he had been treated unfairly by another man in a previous exchange, his brain’s pleasure centers would light up at seeing the other’s pain.

47 48 fascination is, in part, because mastery of these skills is a prerequisite for mathematically intensive disciplines such as physics and engineering. And, as Summers suggested, if women were disadvantaged in these skills, it would go a long way to explaining why women are typically underrepresented in these fields. But the data are much less clear-cut. As we said before, females get higher grades in math classes at all grade levels and also do slightly better on international assessments in algebra, perhaps because of its languagelike structure.

A. Duckworth and M. Seligman in Psychological Science, Vol. 16, pages 939–944; 2005. Why Do Beliefs about Intelligence Influence Learning Success? A Social Cognitive Neuroscience Model. J. A. Mangels, B. Butterfield, J. Lamb, C. Good and C. S. Dweck in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, Vol. 1, No. 2, pages 75–86; September 2006. The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance. Edited by K. A. Ericsson, N. Charness, P. J. Feltovich and R. R. Hoffman. Cambridge University Press, 2006.

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