Monday, May 03, 2010

War of the Sexes: Not Politically Correct

In the paper, Nyborg looks at many other studies to try to determine whether sex differences in IQ exist and, if so, which sex does better on which subtests and by how much. He comes to the conclusion that women do slightly better in verbal tests, men better on spatial, and in sum, men have an IQ advantage over women of between 3 and 8 points, his best number being around 7 points. Men also have a wider dispersion of IQs than women....The result, as the graph shows, is that at an IQ of 145, which could reasonably be deemed an elite level, men outnumber women by a factor of 8. _Mangans


Dennis Mangan looks at a 5 year old study comparing gender differences in intelligence. The study was by Helmuth Nyborg at a Danish university, U. of Aarhus. Nyborg received no end of grief from pseudo-intellectuals, and was even reprimanded by his own university for daring to cross the line of political correctness. But lines of political correctness must be crossed if humans are to get at the truth -- and learn to live with the truth while doing whatever they feel is necessary to change the underlying reality.
Experts have long disagreed about the existence of a sex difference in overall intelligence. Some (e.g. Lynn, 1994, 1997, 1999; Lynn, Irwing, & Cammock, 2002) find that males outscore females by about 3.8 IQ points, but most find no sex difference (e.g. Brody, 1992; Halpern & LaMay, 2000; Jensen, 1998).

This disagreement is confusing for theoretical reasons. First, males dominate all higher ranks of education, research, occupation, and political power structures that call for capacity to deal with complexity, which is just another way of defining general  intelligence g. Second, males have, on average, larger brains than females, and brain size correlates positively with intelligence. Yet, the empirical evidence for a male g advantage is equivocal.

The present study addresses these paradoxes by testing four hypotheses: (1) Ambiguous definitions and methods explain the current disagreement among the experts, (2) The proper analytic approach will identify a male lead in general intelligence g, (3) The larger male brain
partly explains the average male g lead, and, (4) Classical Distribution Theory illustrates how a small male mean SD g score advantage and a wider male SD dispersion score translate into an exponentially increased male–female ratio at the high end of the g distribution. This unequal ratio of high g males to females explains in part why males (always, according to Goldberg, 1977) dominate the intellectually most demanding top occupational and political strata.

...The study made it understandable how an exponentially growing male/female ratio at the high end of the g distribution—with the exact numerical ratio being a function of the size of the average sex difference in mean g and of the dispersion of g—provides part of an explanation of the male dominance in high society.

The present results derive from a more careful sampling of the two independent sub-samples than any before, but the small Ns call for caution in interpretation, even if it is harder to obtain a statistically significant difference in a small than in a large sample.

The general conclusion: Proper methodology identifies a male advantage in g that increases exponentially at higher levels, relates to brain size, and explains, at least in part, the universal male dominance in society. _PDF_Nyborg_PDF

Later research using fMRI and other brain scanning methods have looked at specific differences in connections between brain centers (white matter) and differences in specific brain centers themselves (grey matter), finding much greater significance in those subtle differences than in gross brain size and weight differentials.

That is to be expected, since it is the actual performance of the brains, rather than the size of the hat, that is at issue.

Males dominate the top levels of most professions for many reasons. A significant part of the reason is hormonal -- testosterone providing a certain assertiveness that often lends toward hard work and achievement. At the upper levels of cognitive performance, males are undeniably dominant. Part of that difference is also likely due to testosterone's effects on the developing brain -- primarily in adolescence, but also in early life.

Modern political correctness is counter-productive and self defeating for society as a whole, since it leads to wholesale waste of many of the finest male brains on the planet -- and for too many other reasons to mention here.

In the final reckoning, there will be no final reckoning. But there will certainly be repercussions that Susan Faludi never dreamed of. ;-)



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