Men are more likely to overrate their own intelligence than women, a new study has found.
Researchers at Arizona State University asked biology students, "What percent of your physiology classmates do you think that you're smarter than?"
Two-thirds of the male students rated themselves above average, while only 54 percent of women did.
"I would ask students about how their classes were going and I noticed a trend," said Katelyn Cooper, PhD student and author of the study.
"Over and over again, women would tell me that they were afraid that other students thought that they were 'stupid'. I never heard this from the men in those same biology classes, so I wanted to study it."
Each student was also asked to compare their intelligence to the colleague they most closely worked with. Men were 3.2 times more likely to say they were smarter, regardless of their partner's sex.
"This study shows that women are disproportionately thinking that they are not as good as other students, so this is a worrisome result of increased interactions among students," said Sara Brownell, who contributed to the study.
She said this false impression might discourage women from pursuing a career in the sciences.
"This is not an easy problem to fix," said Ms Cooper. "It's a mindset that has likely been ingrained in female students since they began their academic journeys."
Of the 202 students questioned, 70 were men, 130 women and two identified as neither. The research was published in journal Advances in Physiology Education.