Re: Geary Response

From: Gooding Hilary (hkg195@psy.soton.ac.uk)
Date: Thu Feb 12 1998 - 14:00:08 GMT


[ eg> = Emma Glasscock]

> Author's Response
>
> ON THE BIOLOGY AND POLITICS OF COGNITIVE SEX DIFFERENCES
>
> 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.

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

I agree, for example female Lawyers and Journalistists are highly paid
and these are not math related occupations. Females may choose not to
enter math-intensive occupations for numerous other reasons besides a
difference in maths ability. The sex ratio in careers does not
indicate differences in ability.

>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).

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

Through natural selection physical ability is not so important to
females as males. However as times continue to change and the status
of women in society changes and they become more career orientated and
powerful then they also become more competetive and show their
resource abilities. In the past when women were more repressed they
may not have had the opportunity to show their abilities in areas such
as maths. As changes in status continue, perhaps future studies will
show a reverse, or leveling off of any sex differences.

> 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).

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

This could be true, but what is the female advantage that equals out
the equation?

> 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).

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

This depends on an individual's view of what factors are important,
but many of the views people have are stereotypes that can often be
wrong and which people may comply with to fit into social norms and
therfore not act to their full potential.

> 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;
> Casey & Brabeck 1989; Casey et al. 1992; Vandenberg & Kuse 1978).

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

So either new methods of reaching full potential needs to be found for
females, or else this shows that women are infact inferior to males.



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