Examining the Relationships between Gender and IQ/Mental Ability Levels

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One of the most interesting things that I happened upon in my reading of this weeks Chapter was the controversial studies looking at the differences between men and women in terms of mental ability.
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Although there are some studies that have presented findings to indicate that men may have a slightly higher IQ then women (Lilienfeld p 343), such results have been questioned in terms of replicability. What is far more interesting is the specific mental abilities that differ between the sexes and the implications of such disparities. I think that these specific attributes that separate the sexes play an important role in the formation of gender stereotypes. For example, in the Lilienfeld text it states that women are far better then men at recognizing and empathizing with the emotions of others. This could scientifically explain the cultural assumption that women are gentler and more emotional then men; whereas simultaneously explaining why males are glamorized for being tough and unsentimental.
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The age old cliche that women aren't able to follow directions could also be at least partially substantiated (though strictly on the basis of looking at numerical data and averages) by the fact that Men excel at tasks associated with geography and spatial representations.
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However, despite these findings it is important to maintain the principles of scientific thinking. Due to doubt surrounding the replicability of many studies, one must consider the other factors at work when dealing with such broad assumptions. For example, environmental components could play a huge role in the development of different mental skills in either gender. Also education levels and social class as well as family history could effect an individuals IQ in a much greater more profound way then is predisposed by their gender.
As a whole, I think that the results of studies that look into differences in sex could have weighty and very controversial implications, especially in todays world where some minorities are still fighting for equality. It is possible that discovering a genetically predetermined strength in either men or women could widen the gender gap and fuel discrimination.

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This page contains a single entry by zipp0009 published on November 6, 2011 10:19 PM.

Emotion and Choice was the previous entry in this blog.

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