@reiver

Males Overrepresented At Some Psychometric Extremes

[T]he minds of men and women are not identical, and recent reviews of sex differences have converged on some reliable differences.25

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With some traits the differences are small on average but can be large at the extremes. That happens for two reasons. When two bell curves partly overlap, the father out along the tail you go, the larger the discrepancies between the groups. [...] [F]or many traits the bell curve for males is flatter and wider than the curve for females. That is, there are proportionally more males at the extremes. Along the left tail of the curve, one finds that boys are far more likely to be dyslexic, learning disabled, attention deficient, emotionally disturbed, and mentally retarded (at least for some types of retardation).30 At the right tail, one finds that in a sample of talented students who score above 700 (our of 800) on the mathematics section of the Scholastic Assesment Test, boys outnumber girls by thirteen to one, even though the scores of boys and girls are similar with the bulk of the curves.31

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25. Blum, 1997; Eagly, 1995; Geary, 1998; Halpern, 2000; Kimura 1999.

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30. Blum 1997; Geary, 1998; Halpern, 2000; Hedges & Nowell, 1995; Lubinski & Benbow, 1992.

31. Hedges & Nowell, 1995; Lubinski & Benbow, 1992.

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Blum, D. 1997. Sex on the brain: The biological differences between men and women. New Work: Viking.

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Eagly, A. H. 1995. The science and politics of comparing women and men. American Psychologist, 50, 145-158.

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Geary, D.C. 1998. Male, female: The evolution of human sex differences. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association.

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Halpern, D. 2000. Sex differences in cognitive abilities (3rd ed.). Mahwah, N.J.: Erlbaum.

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Hedges, L. V., & Nowell, A. 1995. Sex differences in mental test scores, variability, and numbers of high-scoring individuals. Science, 269, 41-45.

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Kimura, D. 1999. Sex and cognition. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

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Lubinski, D., & Benbow, C. 1992. Gender differences in ability and preferences among the gifted: Implications for the math-science pipeline. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 1, 61-66.

-- Steven Arthur Pinker

from "The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature"

Quoted on Sun Jul 29th, 2012