Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Male and female ability differences

Here is yet another argument in the endless nature-nurture debate:
Men instinctively like the colour blue and are bad at coping with pain, we are told, while women cannot tell jokes but are innately superior at empathising with other people. Key evolutionary differences separate the intellects of men and women and it is all down to our ancient hunter-gatherer genes that program our brains.

The belief has become widespread, ... In fact, there are no major neurological differences between the sexes, says Cordelia Fine in her book Delusions of Gender, which will be published by Icon next month. There may be slight variations in the brains of women and men, added Fine, a researcher at Melbourne University, but the wiring is soft, not hard. "It is flexible, malleable and changeable," she said. ...

John Gray, author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: "A man's sense of self is defined through his ability to achieve results. A woman's sense of self is defined through her feelings and the quality of her relationships"
The author, Fine, has published research in Neurofeminism, whatever that is. An article on neurosexism complains about the ethics of books that say that women have superior mindreading skills, because such ideas might reinforce stereotypes. I doubt that she has much science to back up what she says.

Meanwhile, here is some plausible new research on sex differences. The article is complete with a picture of the attributes that make a hitchhiker likely to get picked up.

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