Alone or together: The role of gender and social context prior to Aha-experiences
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionScandinavian Journal of Psychology. 2022, . 10.1111/sjop.12883
Prior research indicates that boys show more interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) than girls do. Given that Aha-experiences yield positive affect and increase interest, the question arises whether there are gender differences in Aha-experiences that could help explainthe gender differences in interest. Derived from social role theory, we hypothesized that men report having Aha-experiences alone, whereas women reporthaving Aha-experiences together with others. In a retrospective survey study comprising three independent samples (N=899), we conducted chi- squareanalyses to explore the relationship of gender, social context (alone; not alone), domain, and situational interest. Across all participants, we found that menwere more probably alone and women more probably together with others when they had an Aha-experience. Morefine-grained analyses revealed that theeffect was especially pronounced when the Aha-experience increased situational interest within STEM or the personal domain. The study suggests thatsocial context played a different role in the occurrence of Aha-experiences in men and women. We discuss the implications of ourfindings for STEMinstruction at school.