Friday, January 06, 2006

Male-female differences in math and science aptitude

Aside from race IQ difference research, research on gender differences in intelligence has been one of the more controversial issues in the study of intelligence for decades.

Adding new fuel to the ongoing scholarly debate is a new article just published in APA's American Psychologist that supports the position that there are no proven inborn genetic advantages for males over females in mathematic/scientific aptitude (as per CHC theory - primarily involvement of Gf and Gq?). An overview of the article can be read in the electronic version of the current APA Monitor.

  • This article considers 3 claims that cognitive sex differences account for the differential representation of men and women in high-level careers in mathematics and science: (a) males are more focused on objects from the beginning of life and therefore are predisposed to better learning about mechanical systems; (b) males have a profile of spatial and numerical abilities producing greater aptitude for mathematics; and (c) males are more variable in their cognitive abilities and therefore predominate at the upper reaches of mathematical talent. Research on cognitive development in human infants, preschool children, and students at all levels fails to support these claims. Instead, it provides evidence that mathematical and scientific reasoning develop from a set of biologically based cognitive capacities that males and females share. These capacities lead men and women to develop equal talent for mathematics and science.
Readers who want to read/listen/view additional information re: the gender-IQ issues should visit the Edge where information re: the April 22, 2005, Harvard University's Mind/Brain/Behavior Initiative (MBB) debate between the articles author and another Harvard scholar (Pinker vs Spelke) are presented.

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1 comment:

al fin said...

I think it is clear that Pinker won the debate with Spelke hands down. Spelke came accross as totally obscurantist, trying to keep the debate confined to early and middle childhood testing and away from post-pubertal cognitive changes. That is the only thing the difference-deniers can do to assure themselves they have won the debate--keep the relevant data out of sight.