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PSYC 3480
Noreen Stuckless

1/23/2013 11:32:00 AM Gender Comparisons in Cog Abilities and Attitudes Abt Achievements BACKGROUND ON GENDER COMPARISONS Cautions abt Research on Gender Comparisons 1. Biased samples can influence results  Most research on cognition is done on college students  Most research also focuses on difference b.w white m&w (might get different results w. ppl of colour) 2. Ppl’s expectations can influence results  Researcher who expect to find a difference will find one  Participants also have expectations for a difference in cognition b.w genders (cxn w. ST threat [recall from ch 2]) 3. If we measure some ability, and then we create one graph for the scores of males and we add another graph for the scores of females, the two distributions of scores will overlap substantially  Frequency distribution: tells us how many ppl in a sample receive each score (need to look at this to determine overlap)  Most research b.w. m&w are likely to show a small separation and a large overlap (since they are reasonably similar)  Within groups tho, you would probably find a larger variation 4. Researchers seldom find gender differences in all situations  Most m&w have similar psych characteristics in many situations – these can be modified tho and aren’t inevitable 5. The cognitive gender differences are not large enough to be relevant for a person’s career choice  The cognitive gender difference may partially explain ones career choice, but there are many other factors included in this as well The Meta-Analysis Approach to Summarizing Multiple Studies  In the past, researchers used the box-score approach (aka counting approach) to review previous studies o Read through different articles and drew conclusions based on a tally of their outcomes i.e. how many studies show gender differences, how many have higher scores for women and how many have higher scores for men o Approach is ambiguous: for the same results one might conclude there isn’t a gender diff, while another might conclude that men are a little higher then women  Meta-analysis: stat method used to combine numerous studies on a single topic – person combines results and takes into account the variability of the scores for m&w o Calculates overall size of difference b.w. 2 groups of ppl (effect size, or d) o Groups receive same exact score, d=0 COGNITIVE ABILITIES Cogn Abilities that Show No Consistent Gender Differences General Intelligence  IQ tests generally don’t have tests items that show gender diff  Males show greater variability in scores then females do  Media claims women are better at multitasking – no systematic difference in this area tho Complex Cognitive Tasks  Equally competence when forming concepts and solving complex problems  Also similar on creativity tasks  No difference in learning styles Cogn Abilities that Show Gender Differences Memory Ability  Women score higher on memory tasks; no meta analysis test of this  Women are more accurate when remembering events from their own lives  Women are better at remembering faces then men (includes different ethnicities); can also recall hair/clothing better  M&w are similar in remembering abstract shapes Verbal Ability General Verbal Ability  Gender similarities in language skills (spelling, vocab, etc.)  Females are better at verbal fluency: naming objects that meet certain criteria i.e. words that begin w. “S”  Females score higher on tests of writing ability  M-A study: overall gender difference doesn’t exist in verbal ability o Not many studies have actually been done in respect to verbal/memory abilities (ironically the same areas that women occasionally have the advantage) Reading Disability (RD)  Def: poor reading skills that are not accounted for by the level of general intelligence  Males are more likely to have lang problems (4/5 times more)  When using stat measures: found no gender diff in terms of RD  Other study has found a diff b.w. genders (boys had higher rates) o Reason for the gender difference: could be due to boys behaviour problems rather than reading problems o Girls that may have a RD, may also be more quiet and hide their disabilities (so not able to get tutoring) Mathematics Ability  Receives the most attn from researchers and the press  Media shows a huge difference b.w m&w in terms of math abilities, but research shows that this isn’t the case General Mathematics Ability  Gender similarties in m&w math achievements  Meta: show very small effect in difference b.w genders  Similarities in standard math exams (not including the SATs) Grades in Mathematics Courses  Females get higher grades in high school/college math courses  Females perform better in familiar situations – like course exams  Males perform better on unfamiliar situations – like the SAT The Mathematics SAT  Major media attn for the performance of SAT  SAT has high overall validity, since ppl that do well tend to do well in postsec  The math section is not valid in predicting that women will get lower grades in postsec school then men will o Underestimates women's actual math performance  Due to these results many schools stopped using the SAT or use a
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