BACKGROUND ON GENDER COMPARISONS:
Cautions about research on gender comparisons:
There can be lots of biases when doing research on gender comparisons.
Also have to be cautious when interpreting the results
1. Biased samples can influence results- studies on cognitive individuals is only
conducted on white men and women. If they were also don’t on coloured
people there may be different conclusions.
2. Peoples expectations can influence results- if you expect to find gender
differences then you will find them.
3. If we measure some ability and then we create on graph for the sores of
males and we add another graph for the scores off males the 2 distributions
of scores will overlap substantially.
a. Frequency distribution= tells us how many people in a sample
receive each score.
b. Distributions of male an female characteristics usually show a small
separation and a large overlap.
4. Researchers seldom find gender differences in all situations- cant make
general statements about gender differences. But we can make them
disappear by testing certain kinds of people or just looking at particular
5. The cognitive gender differences aren’t large enough to be relevant for a
persons career choice-
The meta analysis approach to summarizing multiple studies:
When you want to obtain an overview of a certain topic, pychologists will
review all the research that pertains to the studies of that topic
They do this by the box score approach= researchers read through all the
appropriate studies on a given topic and draw conclusions based on a tally of
o Makes ambiguous tallies.
o It doesn’t provide a syatematic method for combining individual
Meta analysis= gives a statistical method for combining numerous studies
on a single topic.
o they locate all appropriate studies on the topic.
o Make a statistical analysis that combines the results of all the studies.
o This then calculates the size of the overall difference between 2
We get the effect size from this.
Now we will look at where there are gender differences in cognitive abilities
o Memory, verbal ability, mathematics ability and spatial ability. Cognitive abilities that show no consistent gender differences:
Males and female are similar in general intelligence. The IQ tests are made to
eliminate gender differences. Even still, IQ scores for men show greater
variability than womens IQ scores.
Complex cognitive tasks:
Men and women are equal when they form concepts and when they solve a
variety of complex problems.
Also similar for creative tasks.
No gender differences for learning style.
Study done that asked people to memorize a list of words and then after a bit
of a delay they are told to say the words. Girls were more accurate.
Women are more accurate about remembering events from their lives.
o Since when young the mom is more likely to discuss emotional topics
with their daughters, therefore the girls have more opportunities to
practice remembering these personal events.
Women are better at recognizing faces.
Women are better at remembering objects that they have seen earlier and
also remembering where they have seen these objects.
Females score somewhat higher than males on a small number of verbal
General verbal ability:
Little research has been done on this.
Before age 2- girls have a larger vocab. But this disappears by age 3 and they
are more equal.
Adolescents and adults have similarities between spelling, vocab, word
association, reading comprehension and learning a second lang.
Females are better at verbal fluency= naming objects that meet certain
Study done that the avg effect size was only .11. this is too close to 0
therefore, they conclude that overall gender differences don’t exist.
Males are more likely to have language problems.
Reading disability= poor reading skills that aren’t accounted for by the level
of general intelligence.
o Girls and boy met the same criteria for having this.
Reading disabilities in NZ: they included general intelligence in their analysis
and they found out that boys were twice as likely girls to have reading
Boys have ore trouble focusing their attention where as girls are more skilled
at controlling their behavior.
Problem is that girls probably do have reading disabilities but because they
sit quietly in their seats, they don’t get payed attention to. Mathematics ability:
Males have better math abilities.
But today they both complete the same amount of math courses.
General mathematics ability:
National center for education statistics reported scores for 8 grade students
on standardized math tests.
o The report showed that boys avg was higher than girls in 16 countries
o But in different 16 counties girls avg was higher than boys avg
o 2 countries they had the same avg.
Grades in mathematics courses:
Girls receive higher grades in 5, 6, 8, 10 math and also in college matho
Girls perform better on familiar situations where as boys perform better in
unfamiliar situations like the SAT
The mathematics SAT:
Validity= measures what its supposed to measure.
The SAT has high overall validity because people with higher SAT scores do
better overall in college math courses.
It predicts intellectual achievements in adulthood.
Its not valid for women that it will predict that women will earn lower grades
in college math courses than men do.
The problem is that math SAT unde