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Chapter 7

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PSYC 320
Sunaina Assanand

Chapter 7: Intelligence and Cognitive Abilities DIRECTIONS: Studies show that women excel at map reading and men are quicker at processing information and putting it to good use The belief that women get lost and men never ask for directions is a gender stereotype which relates to cognitive differences in spatial abilities There are controversies in regards to if these gender differences do truly exist INTELLIGENCE: The current view of intelligence is most influenced by the creation of the intelligence test formulated by Albert Binet This the Binet-Simon intelligence test (then adapted to the Standard-Binet test by Terman) measures a variety of mental abilities related to school performance, including memory, attention, comprehension, vocab, and imagination Both men and women judge women’s intelligence as lower than men’s; this has been shown in students judging their own intelligence, college students judging their parents intelligence and parents judging their children’s intelligence In the Stanford Binet test most test items could be classified as verbal; that is, most questions require the understanding and use of language Wechsler created an intelligence test which divided abilities into categories of verbal and performance skills. Verbal skills require a person to provide verbal answers by performing certain tasks, supplying factual knowledge, defining vocabulary items, performing basic arithmetic computation, repeating a series of digits, understanding similarities between objects, and properly interpreting social conventions. Performance skills do not involve verbal responses, but involve people responding by performing some action, arrange pictures into a sensible story, duplicating designs with blocks, completing pictures that have some missing part, assembling cut up figures of common objects, and learning and rapidly applying digit symbol codes Weschler’s intelligence test showed sex differences between the sub groups (women scored higher on the verbal subtype and men scored higher on the performance subtype); however, the combined scores showed no overall differences These differences in the subgroups reflects the stereotypes of males being better at math and spatial abilities than women A problem when analyzing the gender differences of intelligence tests is that you cannot learn if these differences are innate, so finding gender differences does not necessarily mean that women and men are inherently different in what these tests measure. What these differences tell us is that there are different levels of current performance and any generalizations to innate ability are incorrect Tests show an advantage in reading and writing for girls in grades 4, 8 and 12. The advantage in writing ability is large and persists throughout college Meta-analyses show that gender-related differences in verbal performance are very small. About 1% of the differences in verbal ability relates to gender, leaving 99% related to other factors. It also shows that verbal advantages for girls has been shrinking and despite the stereotype verbal abilities of women and men are quite similar MATH: Most studies with children younger than age 13 show either no gender differences or certain advantages for girls in mathematical performance. By age 13 gender differences favoring boys begin to appear; however, girls continue to get better grades in math classes. Math scores on standardized tests show that men score higher than women. This could be that the selection of test items and test format give advantages to men that are not really related to mathematics ability. An example being that men do better on multiple choice questions than females do, and men do better with time limits. Girls and women have a small advantage in math computation which draws on their better abilities to th rapidly retrieve info from memory. By the 10 grade math problems begin to draw on spatial abilities in which boys excel on. Boys advantage is largest for geometry Elementary school students do not see math as male dominant, but mathematically gifted middle school students (especially boys) expressed beliefs that men were more naturally talented at math than women and so did their parents and teachers. Beginning around 12, girls start to feel less confident than boys about their ability to do math. As students age the gender differences increase and this trend tends to continue into adulthood. College women—even those taking math intensive degrees, did not identify math as part of their domain Girls believe that math is not important to them—this starts when their confidence in their math abilities begins to decline Boys have greater confidence in their math ability and evaluate math as more important to their future Girls believe that math is a male domain which may lead them to believe that they are unlikely to succeed in the subject and think of math as not important. This combined with lack of confidence and the belief that math is not important to their future form a powerful disincentive when girls have to choose elective math courses The ratings and beliefs of mothers and teachers are important for children in forming beliefs about their abilities Girls may have the talent but not the interest in studying math; a survey from children around the world showed that high school students in the US tend to think that math is difficult and not interesting. Girls expressed these opinions more strongly than boys SUMMARY: Gender related differences in math performance do not exist in the general population and the stereotypes of math as a male domain is not based on performance. Boys and girls do not differ in their math ability until high school. Then boys have higher average levels of math performance on standardized tests and confidence in their math ability. The stereotype of math as a male domain lingers affecting girls, boys, parents, and teachers to give contrasting encouragement to girls and boys SPATIAL PERFORMANCE: Stereotype: males are better at spatial performance than females Four category approach to defining spatial abilities: spatial perception, mental rotation, spatial visualization, and spatiotemporal or targeting ability Spatial perception: the ability to identify and locate the horizontal or vertical planes in the presence of distracting information. These tasks usually show gender differences with boys and men out performing girls and women. The magnitude of this variation is small during childhood but fairly large in adulthood Mental rotation: the ability to visualize objects as they would appear if rotated in space. Gender differences are fairly large with males outperforming females on speed and accuracy of mentally rotating objects Spatial visualization: the ability to process spatial information so as to understand the relationship between objects in space such as the ability to see a figure embedded in other figures. Gender differences do not always appear in these tasks. When they do appear it is in favor of men; however the difference is small Spatiotemporal ability: moving objects in space, such as predicting when a moving object will arrive at a target or aiming and throwing. Women are more accurate, but slower than men at aiming and throwing Men perform better than women on a paper-and-pencil version of mental rotation tasks but the same in a computerized, virtual reality version of the mental rotation task Gender role and expectancy influenced women’s performance on an embedded figures test; highly feminine women did better when the task was presented as an empathy test but more masculine women did better when the same task was described as a spatial ability task The male advantage on the rod and frame task disappeared when a human figure replaced the rod and the task was pre
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