• Formulating an acceptable definition for intelligence has been difficult.
• Understanding intelligence and the abilities that contribute to intelligence is a basic
question for understanding humans.
• Psychologists have been concerned with the concept of intelligence since the 1890s.
• The current view of intelligence was most influenced by the creation of the intelligence
test byAlfred Binet, Victor Henri and Theodore Simon in 1905 – the Binet-Simon test.
o This test measured a variety of mental abilities related to school performance
including memory, attention, comprehension, vocabulary, and imagination.
• The prevailing view of intelligence during the 19 and early 20 centuries was that
women’s intellect was inferior to men’s’.
• Aversion ofAlfred Binet’s intelligence test, the Stanford-Binet, created by Lewis
Terman, appeared in the United States in 1916.
o Terman did not believe in the intellectual inferiority of women and believed in the
results of his test, which revealed no average differences between the intelligence
of women and men.
o In the Stanford-Binet, most test items are verbal.
• In the 21 century:
o Both women and men judge women’s intellect as lower than men’s.
This is true when students estimate their own intelligence, when children
estimate their parents’intelligence, and when parents judge their children’s
This difference is seen around the world.
• David Wechsler created an alternative intelligence test that divided abilities into
categories of verbal and performance skills.
o The verbal subtest included:
Supplying factual knowledge (information)
Repeating a series of digits (digit span) Understanding similarities between objects
Properly interpreting social conventions (comprehension)
o In the performance subtest, there were no verbal responses; people responded by
performing some action. The performance category included:
Arranging pictures into a sensible story (picture arrangement)
Duplicating designs with blocks (block design)
Completing pictures that have some missing part (picture comprehension)
Assembling cut-up figures of common objects (object assembly)
Learning and rapidly applying digit symbol codes (digit symbols)
• Unlike the Stanford-Binet intelligence test, Wechsler’s test showed differences between
the scores of men and women; women scored higher on the verbal subtests, and men
scored higher on the performance subtests.
• More recent research, however, has revealed that the patterns of gender differences in
these cognitive abilities are smaller yet more complex than the early views suggested.
• The term ability is somewhat inaccurate because the assessments have been tests of
performance or achievement. Such tests do not measure innate abilities.
• Girls and women have some advantages in verbal performance.
o These advantages include the rapidity and proficiency with which girls acquire
language compared to boys; an advantage that girls maintain throughout
o The advantage in reading ability is large and persists throughout college.
• Women do not talk more than men. There is no difference in how many words men and
women speak each day.
• Ameta-analysis is a statistical technique that combines the results from many studies to
estimate the size of certain effects.
o Janet Hyde has completed several meta-analyses and the results of these meta-
analyses revealed gender-related differences in verbal performance are small: 1% of the difference in verbal ability relates to gender, leaving the other
99% related to other factors.
Verbal abilities of women and men are quite similar.
The differences exist in writing (women write more quickly and fluently)
and in language development (girls develop language earlier than boys,
but boys catch up).
Mathematical and quantitative performance:
• Studies done on children under 13 show either no gender differences or advantages for
girls in arithmetic computation.
• By age 13, gender differences favoring boys begin to appear.
• Girls who excel at arithmetic computation do not become women who are poor at such
tasks; the difference in performance arises from the assessments for what constitutes
mathematical and quantitative performance. Rather than consist of arithmetic
computation, the tests of quantitative ability during the middle and high school years
begin to include tasks that draw on a variety of cognitive abilities.
• Despite the stereotype that females do more poorly in mathematics than males, research
indicates little difference in performance.
• Using meta-analysis to evaluate many studies of mathematics performance, men’s scores
were slightly higher than women’s.
• Thus, some measures of mathematics performance indicate an advantage for women,
some for men, and yet others suggest no difference.
o These differences are the result of different measures of quantitative performance.
• Females: better in math computation, which draws on their ability to rapidly retrieve
information from memory.
• Males: by 10 grade, boys show an advantage because some math problems draw on
spatial skills, in which boys tend to excel.
o By 12 grade, boys’scores exceed girls’scores by 1%; this represents a very
o Boy’s advantage is largest in geometry. • Alarge gender difference in higher-level mathematics appeared in several studies,
showing that, in selected groups of mathematically gifted students, boys now outnumber
• Men’s performance shows more variability than women’s performance. That is, men are
more likely to score in the upper and lower ends (extremes) of the performance
distribution than women are.
o This trend is not universal, as in some cultures, women are more common in the
upper end of the distribution of math performance.
• Standardized tests (such as the SAT, PSAT, and the GRE) consistently reveal a male
advantage. The gender-related differences in performance on these tests demonstrate a
variety of influences, including the possibility that the selection of test items and test
format give advantages to men that are not really related to mathematics. For example,
men do better than women on MC format tests and on tests with time limits.
• The SAT over-predicts men’s grades in college math classes and under-predicts women’s
college math grades. In reality, women’s grades are higher than men’s grades in the same
college math classes. Thus, the SAT mathematics section fails to achieve its stated
purpose – to predict college grades accurately.
• Gender differences in attitudes toward math and motivation to pursue mathematics play a
role in women’s and men’s quantitative experiences.
o Individuals who hold the belief that accomplishments originate from natural talent
rather than from work tend to experience doubts in their abilities and loss of
confidence and motivation when they encounter difficulties and this tendency
applies to girls more strongly than to boys. Thus, boys show more confidence in
their mathematic abilities.
o Elementary students did not perceive math as a male domain, however, males in
middle and high school, teachers and parents do. These perceptions lead to the
acceptance of math as a male domain.
o Girls’perception that math is a male domain may lead them to believe that they
are unlikely to succeed in the subject and to perceive that math is not important or
valuable to them.
• Until the 1990s, girls enrolled in fewer math courses than boys, but that situation has
changed, and enrollment is now similar. • Some evidence indicates that girls may have the talent but not the interest in studying
math. Thus, motivating girls to pursue math is a challenge, and parents and teachers do
not pressure girls and boys equally to pursue the study of mathematics.
• The variations in the definition of what constitutes spatial ability have not hindered many
people from accepting the notion that men are better at these tasks than women.
• Four categories capture some of the complexity of the area:
o Spatial perception
o Mental rotation
o Spatial visualization
o Spatiotemporal ability (targeting ability)
• Spatial perception: a subtype of spatial ability that includes the ability to identify and
locate the horizontal or vertical in the presence of distracting information.
o Examples include the rod-and-frame task and Piaget’s water-level task.
o In these tasks, males outperform females.
o The magnitude of gender differences is small in childhood and adolescence, but
fairly large for adults.
• Mental rotation: a subtype of spatial ability that includes the ability to visualize objects
as they would appear if rotat