How do Females and Males differ?  

Posted by Plato Greybeard

      Implying or suggesting that there are intellectual differences between man and women could be considered politically incorrect.  In January 2005, the President of Harvard University, Lawrence Summers, provoked a firestorm of controversy when he suggested that there might be an intrinsic difference in intelligence between men and women, leading to a fewer  number of women than men in high-end science and engineering jobs.  This is said to have contributed to his resignation the following year.
      In 2006, Danish psychologist and intelligence researcher Helmuth Nyborg was temporarily suspended from his position at Aarhus University, deemed guilty by some of scientific misconduct by publishing a peer-reviewed paper in Personality and Individual Differences that showed an 3.15-point IQ difference in favor of men.
     Nor is there agreement as to whether any assumed differences are the biological or sociological in origin. Diane F. Halpern, in her 2000 book Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities, states that “The literature on sex differences in cognitive abilities is filled with inconsistent findings, contradictory theories, and emotional claims that are unsupported by the research.”  She continues, “Socialization practices are undoubtedly important, but there is also good evidence that biological sex differences play a role in establishing and maintaining cognitive sex differences.”
     The opposite view was taken in the book Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference, published in 2010 by Cordelia Fine, provides a critical analysis of hundreds of recent studies on sex and intelligence. She argues that there is currently no scientific evidence for innate biological differences between men and women's minds, and that cultural and societal beliefs contribute to commonly perceived sex differences.
     So, aside from the obvious physical differences (vive la difference, btw), what gender differences do you see as important? What consequences follow from our physical differences?  Should females be placed in combat positions in the armed forces?  Do hormonal differences account for behavioral variations?  What is the significance of the distinctly larger splenium in the female brain? Are men/women better/worse at some tasks than others?
     Lot’s of questions, few concrete answers.

This entry was posted on January 15, 2011 at Saturday, January 15, 2011 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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