Geary Response

From: Glasscock Emma (eg595@psy.soton.ac.uk)
Date: Wed Feb 11 1998 - 11:48:14 GMT


> Author's Response
>
> ON THE BIOLOGY AND POLITICS OF COGNITIVE SEX DIFFERENCES
>
> David C. Geary Department of Psychology 210 McAlester Hall
> University of Missouri Columbia, MO 65211
> PSYCORIE@MIZZOU1.missouri.edu
>
> ABSTRACT: The male advantage in certain mathematical domains
> contributes to the difference in the numbers of males and females
> that enter math- intensive occupations, which, in turn, contributes
> to the sex difference in earnings.

I feel that it is not feasible to assume that the differences in
mathematical ability can account for sex differences in earnings.
Surely it is not only math-intensive occupations that yield high
earnings.

>R1. Natural and sexual selection

> While females compete more than males in terms of physical signals that
> indicate youth, males compete more directly for social status, i.e.,
> resource control; females prefer males with resources, if they are
> willing to invest those resources in the family (Buss 1989; Feingold
> 1992). The female preference for males with resources often leads to
> more intense and deadly forms of competition among and within groups
> of males than is typically evident among females (Chagnon 1988;
> Wilson & Daly 1985).

Physical attractiveness is not the only female characteristic
appealing to males. Females, as well as males, have to show evidence
of resources and so they too must exhibit deadly forms of
competition.

R2. Primary and secondary abilities

> If mathematical
> reasoning simply involved co-opting general intelligence, then there
> should be no sex difference for solving mathematical word problems.
> This is because there are no consistent sex differences on measures
> of general intelligence (e.g., Raven et al. 1993).

Although there are no sex differences in general intelligence, because
males have a mathematical advantage in the use of their intelligence,
it is likely that females have some other advantage.

> R3. Testable hypotheses

> The general
> resistance to evolutionary approaches to sex differences often rests
> on political goals and the associated uninformed belief that when
> biologically-based sex differences are confirmed then it means that
> females are "biologically doomed" to social and economic inferiority
> (see section R8 and Chipman and Foss).

This is not the case as it is widely accepted that males and females
have a range of different abilities. Males are not superior to females
in all domains we are just good at different things. Therefore
females are not "biologically doomed".

> R4. Behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology

> In partial agreement with the Thomas's general argument,
> the research of Casey shows that there is an important minority of
> women who perform as well as males on the Mental Rotation Test (MRT;
O Casey & Brabeck 1989; Casey et al. 1992; Vandenberg & Kuse 1978).

If a minority of women can perform equally well as males then it can
be assumed that all women have the potential for superior mathematical
abilities but this potential is not nurtured enough.

> R5. Spatial and mathematical abilities

> Thus, the finding of positive correlations between complex spatial,



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