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Battle of the sexes: Different genders, different judgement

By Sola OgundipeThere is a hot debate as to which is the more intelligent sex. Are girls intellectually less able than boys, or do women lack the ability than men to succeed at the highest levels of science and technology? What sex makes better lawyers or pilots or teachers? Are female doctors worse or male engineers better? There are arguments in certain circles over the fact that males do have a higher intrinsic aptitude than females in the field of science and engineering.

It is a fact that when it comes to instances such as Nobel Prize winners, men could outnumber women 10-to-1, but in the real world, and from available evidence, the human potential to excel in science is not the prerogative of one gender or the other. In several instances, from education policy or schoolwork, females actually get equal or better grades  than males.

The male-female IQ difference does not readily show up in everyday activities and for the vast majority of people in the vast majority of jobs, it really doesn’t translate into very much.  While more research may be required to be absolutely certain, it is believed as a matter of fact that men and women  reason differently, at least where the anatomy of the brain is concerned.

The human brain is made primarily of two different types of tissue, the grey matter and the white matter. Research reveals that men think more with their grey matter, while women think more with the white. However there is debate whether the fact that the two sexes think differently affects their intellectual performance.

Result of recent research published in the journal  NeuroImage, shows that in general, men have nearly 6.5 times the amount of grey matter related to general intelligence compared with women, whereas women have nearly 10 times the amount of white matter related to intelligence compared to men.

Professor Richard Haier, a psychologist at the University of California, says these findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behaviour, and by pinpointing these gender-based intelligence areas, the study has the potential to aid research on dementia and other cognitive-impairment diseases in the brain.

In human brains, grey matter represents information processing centres, whereas white matter works to network these processing centres.

Experts say this study may help explain why men and women excel at different types of tasks. For instance, men tend to do better with tasks requiring more localised processing, such as mathematics, while women are better at integrating and assimilating information from distributed grey-matter regions of the brain, which aids language skills.

Scientists find it very interesting that while men and women use two very different activity centres and neurological pathways, men and women perform equally well on broad measures of cognitive ability, such as intelligence tests.

Men are smarter than women, according to a controversial new study about whether gender impacts general  intelligence. “For 100 years there’s been a consensus among psychologists that there is no sex difference in intelligence,” said J. Philippe Rushton, a psychologist at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. Recent studies, however, have raised questions about the validity of this claim.

One such study showed that men have larger brains  than women, a 100g difference after correcting for body size. Rushton found similar results in a study of gender and brain size.  To determine if there was a link between  gender and intelligence, and perhaps between brain size and intelligence, he and a colleague analysed the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) scores from 100,000 17- and 18-year-olds.

In the study, published in the journal  Intelligence, when Rushton and colleagues weighted each SAT question by an established general intelligence factor called the g-factor, they discovered that males surpassed females by an average of 3.6 IQ points. Rushton suspects that the results are due to males having  more brain tissue  than females on average. He said it’s a reasonable hypothesis that more brain tissue is required to process high “g” information.

Further, in an article in  The Telegraph  of London, a philosopher and IQ researcher  James Flynn stated that in the last 100 years the IQ scores of both men and women have risen, but women’s have risen faster. Helena Jamison, a 33 year old consultant at Cambridge believes that women probably always knew deep down that they were the more intelligent, but as the gentler  sex  were quiet about it and let men continue to believe they ruled the world.

Intelligence Quotient researchers took a cursory look at Bottom of Form

IQ scores recorded among males and females aged 14-18 in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Estonia, and Argentina.  Effort was made to get as representative a sample as possible. The subjects were compared on the basis of a test of abstract, logical reasoning known as the Raven’s Progressive Matrices Test.  Setting the male score at 100, it was found that women scored the lowest in Australia (99.5), but in the other four nations Raven’s scores varied from 100.5 to 101.5.

Presenting this data, it was concluded that women not only equalled men, but were slightly above. There has been argument that in countries women have equal educational and developmental opportunities, they match and sometimes surpass men.  In many educational institutions today, the male: female ratio is tending towards equalising. This is a universal phenomenon. It is not that the genders are equal in numbers, but are equal in their ability to deal with using logic on the abstract problems of Raven’s Test.


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