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Not so dumb after all

Girls tend to act dumb with their peers, says a report from Cardiff University. Dr Emma Renold found that clever girls do not talk about their achievements for fear of being ostracised.

"Many girls feel they can't be clever and feminine," she says. "Despite evidence of girls' increasing academic superiority over boys, there is still a large gap in aspirations and self-esteem."

Boys placed themselves above average or found it difficult to predict their future scores. Only the very clever were honest about their test results.

Girls who defy their peers and talk honestly about test results and ambitions have strong friendships with other girls who are also considered "square", giving them the confidence to see themselves as OK.

"Square girls, femininity and the negotiation of academic success in the primary school," Dr Emma Renold, British Educational Research Journal, Vol 27, Number 5

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