Monday, January 19, 2015

What does literature "say" about which gender is smarter, females or males?

Tara Kiley
Mr. Kefor
December 18, 2014    

Gender Intelligence

            It has been an ongoing rivalry between men and women since the beginning of time, a constant competition that never ends.  People assumed that men were smarter because they were always given more opportunities than women. Women were pushed to the side and never given as many options to become successful, so they were seen as the lesser gender. Women have been striving to be seen as equal to men for many years, working hard to change the image they had as weak and not as intelligent as men.  We have been researching which gender is smarter for many years, but the results are inconsistent.  Some studies show men are more intelligent and others show women are smarter.  What if there is no correlation between gender and intelligence at all?  We may never get an answer, but we can try to make our best judgment based on all the information we collect.  What does literature “say” about which gender is smarter, females or males?

            Gender has no correlation with intelligence at all.  Being male or female does not have any effect on grades.  It simply might just have to do with the brain and anatomy of the two different genders. 

            All the research and studies could be a waste of time and money for there may be no correlation between gender and intelligence at all.  Baumeister said, “Although there are no sex differences in general intelligence, reliable differences are found on some tests of cognitive abilities.”  Different genders call for different cognitive abilities.  Tasks that require abilities to manipulate images in working memory demonstrate an advantage in males. Whereas many tasks that access the ability to retrieval from long-term memory, make acquisitions, use verbal information shows an advantage in females. (Baumeister)  “Large effects favoring males are also found on advanced tests of mathematical achievement” said Baumeister “especially with highly select samples.”  The author believes that there are no differences in general intelligence.  There are many ways to counter this statement, but the studies back up this statement to prove this argument.  Gender is said to have no correlation based on this article, but is that true?  There are so many differences between the two sexes which causes a difference in the way they work which then effects the way they learn.  So, is there really no difference in intelligence between men and women?

            Women may excel in some studies than men but not all.  Sometimes one may be better at one thing and your friend may be better at another.  Many people have their strengths and weaknesses and everyone is unique. This is just how life works and we can apply this to which gender is smarter.  An example, women may get a better score in English and men might get a better grade in math class.  The data also depends on the students chosen to be in the study.  “Females obtain higher grades in school, score much higher on tests of writing and content-area tests on which the questions are similar to material that was learned in school,” said Halpern “attain a majority of college degrees, and are closing the gap in many careers that were traditionally male.”  Females have some advantages over males but are not completely better than them.  Men commonly do better on tests that do not involve memory: “By contrast, males score higher on standardized tests of mathematics and science that are not directly tied to their school curriculum, show a large advantage on visuospatial tests (especially those that involve judgments of velocity and navigation through three-dimensional space), and are much more knowledgeable about geography and politics.” (Halpern)  The brains of the two genders are wired differently which causes a difference in the way they act which affects their intelligence. (Halpern) Women and men are obviously very different in their appearance but also their way of learning.

            On one hand, men have the lead on intelligence over women.  They have a history of the male species evolved their brain to obtain different skills.  This ability now helps men to achieve higher grades and IQ’s than women.

            Men are smarter because of their history.  The male background tracks all the way back to hunting: “The hunters that used all their mental capabilities to come up with the answers, successfully killing animals day after day, were clearly the most intelligent.  They were the high-status males of their day and - provocative as it is to say so - must have possessed far sharper minds than those of women engaged in the relatively simple tasks of gathering berries and raising children.” (Lynn)  The skills this task took lead to the evolution of the male brain.  Men’s brains grew sharper than women’s, who just had to complete tasks of picking berries and raising children.  The background of the male species lead to the brain males carry around today: “The result is that men today still have physically bigger brains than women, even after adjustments for their different-body size. Might this underpin the five-point difference in IQ between the sexes?” (Lynn)  Since the men used more of their mental skills to complete these tasks they got smarter which affects their scores on tests.  It is said that boys start to become more intelligent than girls by age sixteen. “Boys and girls may start out with the same IQ” said Lynn “but by 16 or so boys are starting to inch ahead.”  Boys are claimed to be smarter than girls because of their background.  Now, because of their history boys are said to score greater on tests.

Females and males are very different in structure.  Men are commonly tough and rugged looking. Women tend to be more petite and poised.  Women are usually more hormonal than a man and this interferes with their intelligence: “Because, some would hold, hormonal differences between the sexes cause differences in brain structure and function.” (Fausto 14)  Hormones make women emotional and this in an interference to their learning.  Instead of focusing on the new material they are learning they are thinking about something else.  Males then get a lead in academics, because women are too emotional.  The hormonal differences causes there to be more intelligent male icons than female, “Theories abound that there are more male than female geniuses and that boys wind up ahead of girls in the classroom” said Fausto “and hence in the job market.” (14)  Men also rule the schools, for their attendance is greater: “In 1903 James McKeen Cattell, a professor at Columbia University and editor of Science, the official journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, noted that among his list of one thousand persons of eminence throughout the ages, only thirty-two were women.” (Fausto 14)  The author thinks that men are smarter than women due to the hormonal differences.  Women are more emotional and men and this leads to differences in cognitive ability.  Men develop a better visual perspective on things.  Whereas, women develop greater communication talents. (Fausto)

            Men are also claimed to have a greater IQ than women.  “Men and women apparently achieve similar IQ results with different brain regions,” stated Download “suggesting that there is no singular underlying neuroanatomical structure to general intelligence and that different types of brain designs may manifest equivalent intellectual performance.”  The reason men do better on the IQ tests is because they use a different part of the brain to complete tasks asked of them.  This region of the brain that has a lot of activity and material stays: “We examined the relationship between structural brain variation and general intelligence using voxel-based morphometric analysis of MRI data in men and women with equivalent IQ scores. Compared to men, women show more white matter and fewer gray matter areas related to intelligence.” (Download)  Men show more activity in their brain than women do.  Men show more activity in one part of the brain than women.  “In men IQ/gray matter correlations are strongest in frontal and parietal lobes (BA 8, 9, 39, 40),” said Download “whereas the strongest correlations in women are in the frontal lobe (BA10) along with Broca's area.”  Men demonstrate a greater level of intelligence based on the different parts of the brain they locate information from.

            On the other hand, women tend to be more intelligent than men.  They are smarter in more studies and work better in groups.  This is because women’s brains show more activity than men’s.

            Women excel in more studies than men do.  Girls are more intelligent than boys in most studies but not all: “In 1927, Lincoln (1) reviewed studies that compared boys and girls in a variety of areas.  In summarizing, the finding up to that time, Lincoln reported that girls excelled in reading rate, spelling, handwriting, and arithmetic computation; boys were slightly better in arithmetic reasoning, geography, and geometry.” (McFarland 14)  This article is stating its opinion that, on average, girls are smarter than boys.  “Using the Iowa Every-Pupil Tests of Basic Skills on a sample of more than fifty thousand pupils” said McFarland “these researchers found significant differences in achievement, favoring girls, in most of the areas studied.” (14)  Although women do not take the lead in all subjects of academics, they still are smarter in more than men.  Females tend to excel in more subjects of school than males do.  The subjects include; reading, spelling, handwriting, and arithmetic computation. 

            Women have continued to get better grades on tests than men. They also tend to have greater GPA’s than men: “As students move into college, women have continued, women continue to get better grades, on average, than men: 61% of females and 49% of males have a college GPA higher than 3.0 (Clune,Nunes&Choy, 2001).” (Halpern 93)  The difference in intelligence between the two sexes depends on a multitude of things. “In addition, the size of the between-sex difference depends on other moderating factors,” claimed Halpern “such as education, testing conditions, personal and societal beliefs, and many more.” (99)  Women have a greater GPA and often do better on tests than men.  Females can stay focused and do much better in learning environments than men.

            When more women are involved the collective intelligence rises.   The collective intelligence does not reflect individual intelligence.  “There’s little correlation between a group’s collective intelligence and the IQs of its individual members.” said Woolley “But if a group includes more women, its collective intelligence rises.” (2)  The author not only believes, but knows, that when there are more women in collaborative work, the intelligence score is greater, “Many studies have shown that women tend to score higher on tests of social sensitivity than men do.” (Woolley 2)  This data is not relative to individual scores but it has also been proven that women score better on tests, “The standard argument is that diversity is good and you should have both men and women in group. But so far, the data show, the more women, the better.” (Woolley 2)  The teams with the least females were below average. “Teams with more women tended to fall above the average;” said Woolley “teams with more men tended to fall below it.” (3)  We can take away from this article that the more women in the group the better. 

            Women’s brains have a greater level activity.  Women are smarter than men on average: “Women’s brains showed a higher level of activity in the prefrontal cortex which is often referred to as the CEO of the brain because of its many functions.” (Are Women Really Smarter than Men?)  Women are smarter than men due to increased blood flow in the brain.  Blood flow is key for obtaining information and remembering it later on.  “One of the first findings was that women showed an increased blood flow in 112 of the 128 regions of the brain. This indicates that women’s brains are more active than men’s.” (Are Women Really Smarter than Men?)   They often times have better memorizes:  “Another large difference between men and women is that women tend to have better memories.” (Are Women Really Smarter than Men?)  An increase in blood flow helps the memory remember information for a long period of time.  Also, females have a more active brain than men, “Women are also found to behave less recklessly than men, and in essence live longer because they are more careful about their behavior.” (Are Women Really Smarter than Men?)  Women have an advantage over intelligence because their brains are just wired to hold more information.  The ability to recollect information from awhile back definitely helps when it comes to intelligence.  In addition, by having a very active brain it allows females to think beyond ideas and not get frustrated when learning new material.

            Discipline is a large contributor to think about when deciding which sex is smarter.   Girls tend to be smarter than boys because they are more disciplined.  Boys are very aggressive and need more discipline and attention than girls.  Their rapid brain causes their intelligence to decrease because they are often distracted.  “Boys on average, area year and a half behind girls in reading and writing; they are less committed to school” claimed Sommer “and less likely to go to college.” (14)   The male species has no self-discipline and gets distracted on a daily basis.  The female species knows how to control themselves so they get ahead of the males academic wise: “In 1997, college fulltime enrollments were 45 percent male and 55 percent female.” (Sommers 14)  A lot more women enroll in college than men also.  The ratio of men in college was much less than women’s attendance and is projected to decrease in the next couple of years.  “The U.S Department of Education predicts that the ratio of boys’ entry into college” stated Sommer “will continue to worsen.” (14)  All considered from these articles, girls continuously show an advantage over boys when it comes to academics: “A review of the facts shows boys, not girls, on the weak side of an educational gender gap.” (Sommers 14)  This article is stating its opinion that girls are smarter because they are more likely to pay attention.

            By and large, what does literature “say” about which gender is smarter, females or males?  This is a very tough question that has been pondered upon for many years.  We have not been in complete agreement over which sex is more intelligent, but we can make a good hypothesis as to which gender is smarter.  Based upon the reliable information collected, women look to be smarter.  Only finding ten resources, five out of the ten were in favor of the females.  That is about fifty percent.  The other five resources included; two that claimed no correlation and three that were in favor of men intelligence.  These were all the articles that related to the gender intelligence, which concludes that women are smarter than men. 

                                                                                                           Gap identification-
             The research I have uncovered is written mostly by scientists.  I have not read any literature based on the opinions of common teenagers.  Teenagers are the ones that feel the pressure of doing well in school and are in a very competitive environment at least six hours a day, except on weekends. School is so competitive and causes issue in many adolesents.  But, do teenagers notice a difference in female and male intelligence?  Do they know more intelligent girls or boys in class?

                                                                                                                        Research question-
                  Do teenagers notice a difference in female and male intelligence?

                 I chose to use the quantitative method to further my research on gender intelligence. I thought it would make more sense to use statistics to ask teenagers which gender is smarter.  “Quantitative research methods and measures are usually universal, like formulas for finding mean, median and mode for a set of data.” (Research Methods)  In order to find out which gender is more intelligent through teenager’s eyes, using numerical data suits this research best.  It makes it much easier to get your point across quickly.  “Quantitative research involves analysis of numerical data.” (Qualitative versus Quantitative) The quantitative data I collected lead me to a final answer.  It gave me just the right information to draw a conclusion. “Quantitative experiments are useful for testing the results gained by a series of qualitative experiments, leading to a final answer, and a narrowing down of possible directions for follow up research to take.” (Quantitative Research Design)    Overall, quantitative data was the best way to form my data analysis. 
                                                                             Data Collection Process and Instrument-
            I created a quantitative survey to help me collect information on my research question.  I printed out this survey and gave it to some students from Norton High School.  They were asked five simple questions and just had to circle “boy” or “girl”.  The first question was, “Is the smartest student in your English class, a girl or boy?”.  Next, they were asked, “Is the smartest student in your Math class, a girl or boy?”.  The third question they were asked was, “Is the smartest student in your History class, a girl or boy?”.  Then, I asked them, “Is the smartest student in your World Language class, a girl or boy?”.  Lastly, they were asked, “Is the overall smartest student in your grade, a girl or boy?”.  Everyone answered these questions and gave the survey back to me to analyze.

                                                                                                                  Sample Population-
               I gave my survey to twelve high school students from Norton High School.  Six of the twelve students were male, and the other six were female.  The student’s ages ranged from fourteen to seventeen years old.  It is important to survey people of different ages and gender.  This is because you want a variety of answers so you need a variety of people.  The large range of teenagers that took my survey should be enough to come to a conclusion with my research question.

                Data Analysis-

              After looking over the statistics I got from my survey, I think it’s safe to say I have made a conclusion.  According to teenagers, 67% of adolescents thinks that a girl is the smartest student in their English class and the other 33% thinks that a boy is.  Girls seem to take the lead in English, but what about Math?  The survey shows that 67% of teenagers think the most intelligent gender in their Math class is a boy and the other 33% of adolesants think it is a girl.  We can conclude that for the most part, males are smarter in Math than females.  When I asked them about which gender student is smartest in their History class, 42% said a girl and the other 58% said a boy.  Although this is very close, the boys still show a lead in terms of History grades.  Next question asked was about which gender was smarter in the student’s world language class, 83% said a girl and 17% said a boy.  Females demonstrate an advantage in world language class over males.  Lastly, 92% of the high school surveyed said that a girl was the most intelligent student in their grade, and the other 8% said a boy was the smartest student in their grade.  This question is debatably the most important question, and the females seem to be overall smarter than males.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                           Findings-                  After reviewing the data, the teenage perspective favors female high school students in gender intelligence over male high school students.  Based on the teenagers I asked, boys and girls have different cognitive abilities.  Girls show an advantage in the subjects; English and World Language.  Female students also are said to be the overall smartest gender in their grade.  On the other hand, men tend to be better at Math and History.  I found similar information in the literature I read about this topic.  Women may have a slight edge in intelligence but men can still be better in some subjects. 
                In conclusion, women are overall more intelligent than men.  But, men can also show an advantage in some areas over women.  This is important to know going into the future.  Women have been pushed to the side for many years because they were considered not as smart as men.  Now, we can finally say this stereotype is incorrect.  In the future, I hope women and men are given the same equal opportunities.  Future research should focus on why women and men have different cognitive abilities.  This will help everyone understand exactly why women might be more intelligent than men and have different strengths in academics. 

"Are Women Really Smarter than Men? New Study Reveals More [DETAILS]." YNaija. Healthy Black Women, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.                                                                          

Baumeister, Roy F., and Mark R. Leary. "Writing narrative literature reviews." Review of general psychology 1.3 (1997): 311.

 "Download PDFs." The Neuroanatomy of General Intelligence: Sex Matters. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Myths of gender: Biological theories about women and men. Basic Books, 2008.

Halpern, Diane F. "A cognitive-process taxonomy for sex differences in cognitive abilities." Current Directions in Psychological Science 13.4 (2004): 135-139.

Halpern, Diane F. Sex differences in cognitive abilities. Psychology press, 2013.

Lynn, Professor Richard. "Sorry, Men ARE More Brainy than Women (and More Stupid Too!) It's a Simple Scientific Fact, Says One of Britain's Top Dons." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, n.d. Web. 19 Nov. 2014.

McFarland, William Joseph. "Are girls really smarter?." The Elementary School Journal (1969): 14-19.
"Qualitative versus Quantitative Research: Key Points in a Classic Debate." Qualitative versus Quantitative Research: Key Points in a Classic Debate. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Jan. 2015.     
"Quantitative Research Design." - Proving Cause and Effect. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Jan. 2015.
"Research Methods." Research Methodology. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2015.
Sommers, Christina Hoff. The war against boys: How misguided feminism is harming our young men. Simon and Schuster, 2001.

Woolley, Anita, and Thomas Malone. "What makes a team smarter? More women." Harvard business review 89.6 (2011): 32-33.                                                                                                                                                  


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