March 31, 2009

"If 'brain sex' sounds like gender stereotyping, Dr. Moir says there is a twist: Brain sex doesn't always match biological sex."

"There is a continuum, and some brain circuits are 'bi-wired' she believes, thus blurring traditional gender roles. She has developed a test to determine the sex of your brain, with a list of 20 questions about how information is processed. The male brain tilts toward a sequential approach, and the female brain toward a more scattered one. The 'girl' brain is more intuitive; the 'boy' brain more logical. 'From analyzing the tests, my hypothesis is that an awful lot of girls have mixed brains, but boys not so often,' she says. 'Play fighting at school is frowned on and yet many boys fight in order to bond.'"

My brain goes arrrrggggghhhhh! Does that make me a boy or a girl or one of your mixed up boy-girls, Dr. Moir?

101 comments:

BJM said...

My brain goes arrrrggggghhhhh! Does that make me a boy or a girl or one of your mixed up boy-girls, Dr. Moir?

It makes you pirate?

Quasimodo said...

Every time I take a test like this I score near the middle of the scale.

By "like this" I mean one that tries to determine which of two poles the test taker tends toward.

I wonder what that means. In any case, the slight tendency it indicated for me is wrong.

traditionalguy said...

The research findings are always fun to think about when Male is compared to Female. But they also say that the personality types are more like 52 than 2. Then there are the popular Gay Genes we accept as Science. The ability to Study things by science is per se a Good, but since I was in a college that did high level research, I have known that the Popular press releases are tricks to keep the real research results out of public circulation.

Skyler said...

The "girl" brain is more intuitive; the "boy" brain more logical.

Hmm. Seems to me that "intuitive" is the new euphemism for "illogical." Men have known this for millenia.

Seriously, what on Earth does "intuitive" mean? People toss that word around quite easily when they want to excuse mushy thinking and especially when trying to excuse those who aren't logical.

Paul Zrimsek said...

Brain sex doesn't always match biological sex.

Then perhaps they should call it something else, eh?

Big Mike said...

Does that make me a boy or a girl or one of your mixed up boy-girls, Dr. Moir?

No sense asking him. Ask Meade.

rocketeer67 said...

Brain sex doesn't always match biological sex.

It never does, but as any man above the age of 12 can tell you, it'll do in a pinch.

former law student said...

The article rings true to me. There were tomboys and sissies in my neighborhood growing up, and no they did not turn out to be gays and lezzies. Even now, the easiest women for me to relate to are not the stereotypically feminine.

"Intuitive" means being able to take in a large number of data inputs simultaneously and process them quickly to yield a decision. "Logical" means taking a bunch of faulty assumptions, and deducing consequences step by step until the final wrong answer is reached.

Shanna said...

This test reads like a test of stereotypes. I scored a ten, which puts me squarely in the middle.

Shanna said...

Just because you come to the answer intuitively doesn't mean there wasn't logic behind it. I think intuition is just unconscious processing of information.

Bruce Hayden said...

This somewhat reminds me of "The Essential Difference" by Simon Baron-Cohen which talked about male brains being more systemizing and female brains being more emphasizing, on average. Then, he went on to posit that autism and AS bore some relationship to the male brain - which may be one reason that such conditions strongly predominate in males.

And it makes some sense, esp. in view of the two women I know with AS. They both have fairly "male" brains, and have a much easier time dealing with male thought patterns than female ones. (And I can thank Baron-Cohen for helping me find resources to understand female AS).

Interestingly though, there was no connection between these women having what both Moir and Baron-Cohen would consider notably more male than female brains and their sexual orientation - both were strongly, almost obsessively, heterosexual.

This brings me to a point that both try to make, which is that these brain tendencies are continuums, with the male mean being on one side of the divide, and the female on the other. Because of this, there aren't a lot of males with strongly female brains, and visa versa.

Finally, one way that I know that I have a decently "male" brain is that I am almost totally incapable of multitasking. Some of the women in my life take advantage of that. For example, I can drive and talk to one of them at the same time, but once the radio is turned on to her music, my speed drops in half. On the other hand, I am linear enough that I have worked on the same software problem for 24 hours straight and routinely go 8 with minimal breaks drafting patent applications.

rocketeer67 said...

"Intuitive" means being able to take in a large number of data inputs simultaneously and process them quickly to yield a decision. "Logical" means taking a bunch of faulty assumptions, and deducing consequences step by step until the final wrong answer is reached.

Congrats FLS! You're the proud papa of a bouncing baby boy-brain!

TMink said...

Great post Bruce, well said.

Trey

amba said...

Sheer stereotype. You'd probably have to be from another planet to study this issue without pre-skewing the findings.

It makes you pirate?

I don't understand that question but it immediately made me flash on this. I love that title.

Shawn Levasseur said...

"Brain Sex"... Sounds like a euphemism for the Vulcan mind meld.

amba said...

It's an idiotic questionnaire, too. "5. If someone interrupts what I am doing, it's difficult to go back to it." That depends on what it is, asshole!

traditionalguy said...

The new medical cloning of Humans should also allow for Trophy Brains for the rich people's offspring. Who knew that the Nazi scientists were onto something doable after all? Will they all get to go send the cloned kids to Harvard as part of a Package deal with the Cloners of Madison Avenue? The end of something human is near.

Peter V. Bella said...

I really hope no type of government funding or grant money went into this project. It would be another waste of tax payer money.

Alex said...

Sure women are scatter-brained. But we've known this forever.

Alex said...

BTW, no software design meetings are complete without daily lunches at Yarrows followed by cigars and congnac.

Anthony said...

Brain sex doesn't sound like gender stereotyping to me, it sounds like a potentially very painful form of intercourse.

Joan said...

LOL, Alex: back in my day, if it was the morning, it would be scones and really good coffee at The Woven Hose cafe downstairs. Later in the day, beer was usually involved.

Amazing how a pint or two can unravel some of those tricky UI issues.

Synova said...

I scored 10.

Did anyone not?

When it comes to education the sorts of changes they talked about making in the classroom or in testing to make things better for girls put me in a cold sweat. Every last thing felt like a declaration that they wanted me to fail.

Cooperative projects in Math? OMG. Take away my lovely multiple choice tests? Just shoot me now.

Harsh Pencil said...

The "girl" brain is more intuitive; the "boy" brain more logical.

I feel that this is incorrect.

Litigotiation said...

Scene: Althouse's class.

Devoted student becomes distracted by shiny object on Professor's hand. Professor's humanity makes class that more bearable.

"Blind grading, man, blind grading."

traditionalguy said...

Anthony... is this why women have ear holes in their heads? I have noticed that women decorate around their earholes with shiny objects. Is that to attract brain sex partners? I suspect that to real women, brain sex is just pillow talk whispered while snuggling. Noble Scientists of the world now demand government grant funds to unlock this closely guarded secret.

Paul Zrimsek said...

"Not tonight, my brain hurts!" --Mrs Gumby

Old RPM Daddy said...

The whole questionnaire reads like something out of one of my kids' magazines.

I scored a nine. Does that mean I'm just about average, or that I'm a dude, but just a little?

rhhardin said...

Thurber and White have the definitive work, ``The Feminine Types'' in _Is Sex Necessary?_

The Quiet Type is not amenable to the advances of scientific men when the advances are of a scientific nature, and also when they are of any other nature. Indeed, it is one of the unfortunate handicaps to psychological experimentation that many type of women do not lend themselves readily to purposeful study. As one woman said to me, ``It all seems so mapped out, kind of.''

Synova said...

Speaking of "intuition."

The sale of imported Hummer H3 SUVs have, counterintuitively, exploded in Baghdad. Despite representing the occupying American military, the psuedo-masculine appearance and bright colors...

The author is male, if we assume "Matt" is male. I note that a Hummer is "pseudo" masculine and the popularity in Iraq "counterintuitive."

So the question becomes... do I view the popularity as entirely intuitive, a real "no brainer" because I have a female brain that understands intuition and "Matt" fails because his brain is male?

Or does he view Hummers as "pseudo" masculine because he has a female brain and I recognize the logical certainty that a highly masculine culture will find the masculine Hummer *and* association with the most powerful military in the world, appealing because I have a male brain?

Because if you'd asked me "Assume that there are people in Iraq who can afford civilian hummers... would the association with the American military make them popular or make them unpopular?" I would have immediately either "intuited" or "reasoned" that the association with our military would make them very popular indeed. I'd probably also intuit or reason that "red" would be among the most popular colors.

Smilin' Jack said...

The male brain tilts toward a sequential approach, and the female brain toward a more scattered one..."From analyzing the tests, my hypothesis is that an awful lot of girls have mixed brains, but boys not so often," she says. "Play fighting at school is frowned on and yet many boys fight in order to bond."

At first I didn't get the connection between sequential brains and fighting. But then I realized there isn't one; she just made a random juxtaposition to demonstrate that she is herself a scatterbrain, which supports her theory.

Seriously, this is the kind of nonsense you can expect when you let women become scientists.

Synova said...

http://jalopnik.com/5190193/iraqis-importing-civilian-hummers


The link for that.

Skyler said...

I got a three, but I hardly think that being able to return to a task after being interrupted or doing more than one thing at a time hardly qualifies as being feminine.

I think I was too bored by the test to accurately answer if I get bored easily.

I agree with Amba. The problem with the psycho babble tests is that the questions are devoid of context. For example, one test I was inflicted with asked, how likely are you to confront your boss when you disagree with him? Well, if it's about what color to paint the office, not likely at all. If it's about safety, then that's an entirely different scale. These kinds of tests purport to use a few dozen questions to explain things that we spend a lifetime trying to understand about ourselves. Absurd.

Beth said...

It's a mixed-up, muddled-up, shook-up world.

(except for Lola)

Joe said...

Regardless of specific conclusions about male/female brains, it's pretty conclusive that there are general differences and that our school systems favor the female brain. Even society is being feminized. Decisions at the highest political levels aren't being made based on logic, but on feelings (which is what so-called "intuition" is.)

Mark Daniels said...

"My brain goes arrrrggggghhhhh! Does that make me a boy or a girl or one of your mixed up boy-girls, Dr. Moir?"

More to the point (moir to the point?), who cares?

Synova said...

I put my youngest daughter in school last fall for sixth grade after homeschooling.

The orientation meetings just about made me want to scream. There was not a single male teacher present (the only male sixth grade teacher is the band teacher and he wasn't back from Guard duty) and then the math teacher showed a video about teaching girls math and science and assured us about how much effort was being made in that regard... just as if no boys would be in that class. Boys were never mentioned at all. I was appalled and if I'd had a boy I would have taken him out right then. Later when my daughter was going to have a male math tutor her teachers *apologized* to me about it, and when I said that my daughter would probably respond better to a male tutor (she loved him for the two months he was there) they were all shocked.

I wonder what it will be like by the time my kids have kids that are starting school.

Salamandyr said...

This test seems bogus to me for a couple different reasons. For one thing, the questions are incredibly telegraphed. It's very easy to tell which way to answer to get the result you want. It seems designed to reinforce prearranged conclusions.

And it fails to control for intelligence. A above average smart woman is going to be above average at logic. An above average smart man is going to be above average at intuitive activities like face reading.

former law student said...

There was not a single male teacher present (the only male sixth grade teacher is the band teacher and he wasn't back from Guard duty)

I didn't have a male teacher till seventh grade, and the men were there only long enough so they could get a masters and teach high school -- whose salary schedule was considerably higher.

Perhaps a component of the girl brain is the willingness to work for less money. Or the willingness to work with young children.

Lem said...

I haven’t taken the test but I’m going to say I have a female brain.

I’m always late to everything ;)

Synova said...

Maybe someone will think this is funny, or maybe not, but I have a bit of a reputation in my family for having good intuition about factual things. Not opinions or feelings but "the toddler is missing, where should I look first" sorts of questions. But it's just paying attention at some level and processing *logically* the available data. I'm really good at multiple choice tests, too, because even if I don't remember, I'll usually pick the right answer if I've seen it before because I let the "intuition" brain-tickle work by relaxing and thinking less hard.

My brother was house-sitting for me once and after a phone call the first day he says, wait, I needed to ask you something and I don't remember what it was. I thought about it and told him where the vacuum cleaner bags were. He's all... how did you KNOW that! Well, DUH, he'd told me that he vacuumed up the popcorn the kids had spilled as we rushed out the door that morning. Of course he needed a new vacuum cleaner bag.

Just because someone else missed the steps of reason and logic followed to reach a conclusion doesn't mean Commander Troy is on duty instead of Spock.

OTOH, it's a great joke in our house that any product or program designed to be intuitive, is designed for someone elses intuition. Not mine. Not ever.

ironrailsironweights said...

This test seems bogus to me for a couple different reasons. For one thing, the questions are incredibly telegraphed. It's very easy to tell which way to answer to get the result you want. It seems designed to reinforce prearranged conclusions.

I find that to be the case with most online "personality" tests.

Peter

save_the_rustbelt said...

Meade should take his vitamins.

srfwotb said...

It might help if the questions weren't so freaking obvious. The only thing I found interesting is that I've lost some minor female abilities as an adult (neat handwriting is gone, gone, gone.)

I'm wondering why strong map reading ability and desire to win/competitiveness is merely neutral, while singing and/or being passive when it comes to competition are definitely female.

Synova said...

I didn't get the singing part at all.

Henry said...

At first I didn't get the connection between sequential brains and fighting.

5th RULE: One fight at a time.

Henry said...

I can only sing in tune when no one else is around. I gave myself a Yes on that one.

JAL said...

I didn't bother to read it. I'm a girl. I'll score middle or slightly boyish. I look like a girl. I think more logically than my husband who is nothing like a girl. I can multi-task. He can not.

What does it all mean?Girls are girls, boys are boys. And then there are the rest of us.

(Observation: Girls who score froo-froo probably do not hang out in the comments section on this blog. Except for Victoria who is weirdly absent these past few weeks.)

jimbino said...

I'd just be happy to meet some girls or women who excelled at chess, math, physics, rocket surgery ....

former law student said...

It's easy for me to sing in tune, singing alone.

But what if you're not alone? What would you do if I sang out of tune?

Would you stand up and walk out on me?

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

I scored an 11, which I chalk up to the fact that I am the only child of a jock/civil engineer who never deferred to my gender when it came to activities and a mother, who herself grew up in a house of a Dad & 3 brothers after her mother died when she was not yet a teen.

There wasn't much fru fru or frillies going on in my house, but lots of sports, outdoor adventures, and competition.

rhhardin said...

This brings me to a point that both try to make, which is that these brain tendencies are continuums,

Occasionally you get one though like the harpsichord cadenza at the end of the first movement of the 5th Brandenburg concerto.

Methadras said...

Is this test one of those moronic quizez that your 'friends' on Facebook want you to take to see what kind of dessert you are or what sort of car you are?

Sara (Pal2Pal) said...

If you don't know what intuitive is or understand intuition, the chances are you are a male. I doubt many women would stumble over that question. Nor would women have a problem with doing many tasks at one time. We are definitely more skilled multi-taskers. I also think we are much better at returning to a task after being interrupted.

srfwotb said...

@JAL lol re: people who hang out in the comments section. Your aim is true.

RR Ryan said...

I didn't take the test and I didn't read all the comments, but for what it's worth(and I'm gay, so your results might vary) my boyfriend and I have talked about the difference between linear and tangential thinking. He's a banker and I'm a whatever seems appealing at the moment, so our conversations tend toward the disctinctly nonlinear.

Buford Gooch said...

"My brain goes arrrrggggghhhhh! Does that make me a boy or a girl or one of your mixed up boy-girls, Dr. Moir?"

That makes you a pirate.

Synova said...

If you don't know what intuitive is or understand intuition, the chances are you are a male. I doubt many women would stumble over that question. Nor would women have a problem with doing many tasks at one time. We are definitely more skilled multi-taskers. I also think we are much better at returning to a task after being interrupted.

Except... me.

Pogo said...

" I also think [women] are much better at returning to a task after being interrupted."

Men have little problem returning to sex when it's interrupted.

Or TV, eating, fighting, video games, and alcohol, for that matter.

They stay pretty much on task, if the task's worth staying on.

campy said...

Looks like the Althouse rule of sex difference studies is holding true in the some of these comments.

dbp said...

I'm a guy who is neither super macho nor girly and I got a 5. The test works perfectly.

Revenant said...

"Brain sex doesn't always match biological sex."

Then perhaps they should call it something else, eh?

Yeah, that was my first thought too. :)

Revenant said...

It seems strange to me that an interest in taking things apart to find out how they work is labeled as "intuitive" rather than "logical". So is sorting things into categories.

That makes no sense.

dbp said...

"Brain sex doesn't always match biological sex."

If it always matched then it would be a pretty useless test. There are much easier ways to determine the sex of a subject. If there was no correlation between the test results and the actual sex of the subject, then it may or may not have value, but it would be deceptive to call the differences in test results male/female. That there is a high correlation between actual sex and test results means that the test has some value and it is fair to call the differences in outcome by male/female.

Skyler said...

We are definitely more skilled multi-taskers.

Where does this nonsense come from?

And where does the idea that music is feminine come from? The great musicians, cooks, artists, etc., in the history of the world have generally been men.

Glorifying "intuition" has really only been a way to make the less intelligent feel better when they don't do well on intelligence tests.

There are plenty of intelligent women out there, there's no need to pretend that there is some other scale.

molly said...

And where does the idea that music is feminine come from? The great musicians, cooks, artists, etc., in the history of the world have generally been men.

Well gee, I wonder if there's a reason for this that doesn't have anything to do with biological differences.

theobromophile said...

It is senseless to create a dichotomy between logic and intuition. The best example of this is mathematical intuition: a lot of people are very capable of almost intuitively knowing the answer to a problem, or how an abstract concept works, but that does not mean that the thought process is not grounded in logic. The "logic" people go step-by-step, and the rest of us just skip over the intermediate steps.

Outside of math, though, intuition is often the result of the processing of a tremendous amount of data that isn't going on in the conscious mind. Neither the process nor the result are illogical, though.

I scored a 3 on this test. It would have been worse if I used to do wheelies on my bike or weren't able to understand what people were thinking. I now have excellent fine motor skills (and handwriting - ask Simon), but I didn't really develop much of that until middle school. Can't help but wonder if boys would have an easier time of handwriting (and perhaps girls of other tasks) if we taught them at different stages of their lives.

Skyler said...

The "logic" people go step-by-step, and the rest of us just skip over the intermediate steps.

Not really. This reminds me of the old Greek who said motion was impossible because to cross the threshold you first have to move half way there, and then half way again, infinitely. Of course those half ways are at different speeds.

In this "intuition" example, what is happening is not skipping steps of logic, it's simply doing them a lot faster. It's called intelligence.

Skyler said...

Well gee, I wonder if there's a reason for this that doesn't have anything to do with biological differences.

Such is the popular sentiment, but there's not much to indicate that it's really that significant. Brilliant women have always found ways to be noticed, especially in western civilization.

Even today, with unparalleled freedom and equality, and even a bias in favor of women in many ways, men still make up the majority of musicians and chefs and artists.

molly said...

Do you really think every social factor that might make it easier for men to have professional careers ceased to be an issue 40-50 years ago?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I scored a 6 but then I already knew that I'm mildly Asperger Syndrome .. my brother more so and my father as well. The test was stupid anyway, as some have already said.

If I'm interrupted at a task it depends what the task is on how quickly I can get back to it. In fact, there are often times that you CAN'T interrupt me because my focus is on the task and .....I can't hear you!

Music is mathematical and explains why more men are technical musicians. However, the vocal part of music can be both mathematical and aural. My brother has perfect pitch and learned to play the piano and other instruments by ear....so to speak.

I don't use handwriting. I mostly print or use a combination of both. My printing is very good since I took drafting in high school as an elective and block printing is very easy to do and much faster than "longhand".

Spacial relationships. Mapping. 3D puzzles are fun and challenging.

I dont' think that these traits are necessarily masculine vs feminine....they just are how you have inherited skill sets from your parents and ancestors.

The whole thing is meaningless.

Skyler said...

Do you really think every social factor that might make it easier for men to have professional careers ceased to be an issue 40-50 years ago?

What an absurd question. "Every" social factor? You're not even going to dismiss the teeny tiniest factors and put them all together? I mean, being accepted and graduating from colleges in higher percentages than men isn't enough? Laws forbidding discrimination aren't enough? Having the last three secretaries of state for the most powerful nation in the history of the globe be women isn't enough?

Geez, there's more hardship in getting a job if you're a short, fat, bald man than there is if you're a woman.

So why are men still dominating in jobs that even historically have encouraged female success, such as chefs, artists, and musicians? Why? I don't presume to know why, but it sure isn't because women don't have the opportunities.

molly said...

If I'm interrupted at a task it depends what the task is on how quickly I can get back to it. In fact, there are often times that you CAN'T interrupt me because my focus is on the task and .....I can't hear you!
Exactly -- though I am horrible at anything that involves spatial relationships! In elementary school I always used to get in trouble for not hearing my teacher tell us to stop reading. Now I just annoy my husband, who, like me, has beautiful handwriting (not to brag). I guess we get along because of our same-sex brains.

Calling any behavioral trait "male" or "female" sounds like a great way to discourage people from doing what they are naturally best at.

molly said...

Skyler, I'm just saying it's too early to tell -- don't musicians and artists do their best work at a mature age, when they've acquired the most experience? Get back to me in another generation.

Synova said...

I donno, Molly. One of the reasons my sister didn't go beyond a Masters in Physics and decided to teach instead of go into research or industry was because the way to do those things was unacceptable to her. She has a "professional career" just not one that requires a series of year long internships from one side of the nation to another.

Is anything about that harder for her than it is for men? No. It's just that men are socially conditioned to be abused in the workplace.

Oh, and her degrees are in Physics and music. An entirely logical pairing.

molly said...

Synova, as someone entering one of those grueling research careers I hope that these kind of considerations (about quality of life) become more important for men as well as women. I don't envy men who were able to succeed in the past because they had wives managing their personal lives while they worked sixty hour weeks. And I think physics and music are a totally logical combination -- one of my (female) friends from high school is an amazing artist who studies math.

Revenant said...

Well gee, I wonder if there's a reason for this that doesn't have anything to do with biological differences.

Maybe in part. But musical ability and mathematical ability are very strongly correlated, and it is pretty firmly established that the male edge in mathematics is congenital.

molly said...

Maybe in part. But musical ability and mathematical ability are very strongly correlated, and it is pretty firmly established that the male edge in mathematics is congenital.

I don't disagree with that. I guess I have trouble seeing where the chefs come in.

theobromophile said...

My undergrad degrees were in engineering and classics, which isn't quite physics and music, but is along the same lines.

As for the "why aren't women succeeding at the same rate as men?" question...
Back in the day, my chemistry professors used to tell us to not get thermodynamics and kinetics confused. Thermo tells you what will happen, while kinetics tells you when it will happen.

The same is true, I believe, of social factors: that things will one day, eventually be equal does not mean that parity will be reached according to some (usually arbitrary) timeline. Yes, more women than men are graduating from college now, and law schools and med schools are basically at parity, but it will be another generation before those women are in the high echelons of their fields. Moreover, very high-powered careers can be incompatible with having even one or two kids, and basic biology (unrelated to brainpower) will always place a disproportionate burden on women. It is the rare person who can take off for five or ten years, then come back and be at the very, very top. Looking even more into the future, the only women who will have a sizable number of female mentors in their fields of choice are the girls who are running around elementary school playgrounds right now.

On another note, I know why I left engineering, and it had nothing to do with ability or lack of brainpower. There is attrition from people like me, and there's also the fact that women tend to only go for things for which they are more than qualified, whereas men are more likely to just try, even if they aren't up to par. Social factors like that, which are independent of mental acuity, will inhibit female progress.

It's somewhat arrogant, IMHO, to presume to know the nature and effects of each variable working on a complex system, but that is the underlying assumption behind the "but where are all the women??!?!11" idea.

Jason (the commenter) said...

I scored an 11, but I have to say, anyone who completed it has to consider themselves at least partly girly, especially when you consider it could have been titled How feminine is my brain?

theobromophile said...

Er... digression from where this thread has ended up, but not from where it started: shouldn't it be "brain gender"? Sex is the biological basis of being male or female, whereas gender involves social or cultural states.

Revenant said...

I don't disagree with that. I guess I have trouble seeing where the chefs come in.

The role of chef is procedural, detail-oriented, hierarchical rather than collaborative, and benefits enormously from obsessive specialization. These are all things which either appeal to more men than women, or at which most men have an edge over most women.

Jason (the commenter) said...

Also, any of us who took the test knew what it was about, so the results probably aren't valid!

molly said...

The role of chef is procedural, detail-oriented, hierarchical rather than collaborative, and benefits enormously from obsessive specialization. These are all things which either appeal to more men than women, or at which most men have an edge over most women.

That may be true, but it seems kind of tricky to make these generalizations when there are plenty of women-dominated fields that test the same skills. What about law, or (close to my own heart) academia?

Jeremy said...

Jason (the commenter) said..."Also, any of us who took the test knew what it was about, so the results probably aren't valid!"

You've taken tests that you didn't know what the test was all about?

Revenant said...

What about law, or (close to my own heart) academia

I don't have enough experience with the legal profession to comment on that, but it seems to me that men dominate most of the academic fields for which the above traits hold true as well.

Revenant said...

You've taken tests that you didn't know what the test was all about?

Yes. And for tests like this it is important that you not know.

For most of the questions, a person could hazard a good guess as to whether or not a "yes" answer was "logical" or "intuitive". This means that whatever preconceived notion you have of yourself as being logical or intuitive would likely bias the test. If you see yourself as logical and aren't sure whether the correct answer is "yes" or "no", you'll pick the one that indicates you are logical.

Imagine a test for, say, cancer, that was affected by whether or not you actually THOUGHT you had cancer. How useful would a test like that really be?

amba said...

I also think we are much better at returning to a task after being interrupted. God, we'd be screwed if we couldn't, since men and children are always interrupting us.

It's why I'm editing instead of (seriously) writing while caregiving. I can easily return to interrupted editing. If you interrupt me while I'm writing, I'll kill you.

amba said...

The great musicians, cooks, artists, etc., in the history of the world have generally been men.

Well gee, I wonder if there's a reason for this that doesn't have anything to do with biological differences.


There is a simple reason. All the rewards for men (fame, wealth, and babes) lie in the same direction. The rewards for women (excepting vsrious kinds of performers) have until recently lain in diametrically opposite directions.

That more and more men now appreciate and even expect intelligence, achievement, and earning power in a mate is probably bringing about profound evolutionary changes.

John Lynch said...

Maybe there are just two types of brains, and they loosely correlate with the two genders. So maybe it's not a big deal at all.

Women have been oppressed for so long in so many places that a comparison with past male accomplishments isn't fair. Check back in a century or so.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

"There is a simple reason. All the rewards for men (fame, wealth, and babes) lie in the same direction. The rewards for women (excepting vsrious kinds of performers) have until recently lain in diametrically opposite directions."

Well, that's it, Amba. Remember back in the '90's when we were assured that women could "have it all" (family and career)? Men never doubted that they could.

As to whoever said that brilliant women in the West have always gotten attention, I offer this from my blog post of the other day:

"Here's a blurb from my biography of Lise Meitner, for whom Meitnerium, element 109 on the Periodic Table was named:

"The Chemistry Institute [at Friedrich Wilhelm University] was completely off-limits to women: Emil Fischer was afraid they would set fire to their hair, having once had a Russian student with an "exotic" hairstyle. (He must have believed his beard to be flame resistant.) As a compromise, Lise was allowed to work in a basement room formerly a carpenter's shop, where Otto [Hein, her chemist-collaborator] had set up for measuring radiation; she was not to set foot in any other part of the institute, not even the laboratory upstairs where Otto did his chemical experiments. Fischer relented only because the wood shop had a separate outside entrance; to use a toilet Lise walked to a restaurant down the street."

Meitner put up with this because she wanted to do physics and she was good enough to get that spot in the basement. (How many people have elements named after them?) Yes, the brilliant women eventually make it. The very, very good women had to stay home and bake cookies until relatively recently.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

I scored 10, by the way.

fcai said...

I think that those who can, do, those who cannot, stay home and bake cookies.

I'm lookin' at you, Mr. Mom with the baby snuggly...

commenter said...

"That more and more men now appreciate and even expect intelligence, achievement, and earning power in a mate is probably bringing about profound evolutionary changes."

wow and to think i was eighteen in the seventies, had worked through highschool from freshman to senior year, was in the academic tract and near the top of my class, involved in athletics and student government, had an ideal hip to waist ratio,

and one or two dates. What did i do wrong?

the key to any evolutionary change will be in the male of the species notoicing that the most open minded, intelligent creature is the child and when he wants to be a part of that more than a part of the day to day intelligence and achievement of coworkers then we will see evolutionary change.

Joe said...

most open minded, intelligent creature is the child

What a load of new age gibberish.

rhhardin said...

Paglia: the reason there's no female Mozart is that there's no female Jack the Ripper.

(Somewhere in Sexual Personae)

commenter said...

it's bullshit that i am of new age persuasions, even if my online persona reeks of new age. check your nose again.

commenter said...

you know, they did let women in the bauhaus.

By 1929 there were 170 students in the Bauhaus, 51 (30%) of them were women, and 19 of the women were in the weaving workshop.

They weren't so sure of their spatial relationship IQ, therefore they put them mostly in the weaving room acccording to a book i read.

That's like letting women study subatomic particles instead of cannonballs, btw.

Big Mike said...

@rhhardin, that's assuming, of course, that Jack the Ripper wasn't really Jill.

There have been female serial killers, BTW. Paglia is pretty intelligent, but she doesn't get them all right.

Revenant said...

that's assuming, of course, that Jack the Ripper wasn't really Jill. There have been female serial killers, BTW.

It doesn't take much "assuming" to posit that Jack was male. Quite apart from the fact that that's the overwhelming statistical likelihood, the details and circumstances of the crimes themselves point to a male killer.

In any case Paglia was largely correct. Men are more widely spread out across the intellectual and emotional spectrum than women are. Average women outnumber average men; abonormal men, good or bad, outnumber abnormal women.

Wikitorix said...

It is senseless to create a dichotomy between logic and intuition. The best example of this is mathematical intuition: a lot of people are very capable of almost intuitively knowing the answer to a problem, or how an abstract concept works, but that does not mean that the thought process is not grounded in logic. The "logic" people go step-by-step, and the rest of us just skip over the intermediate steps.

Mathematical intuition must be rigorously trained, and even then it must kept carefully in check. The best known example is that "The axiom of choice is obviously true, Zermelo's Theorem is obviously false, and who can tell about Zorn's Lemma," even though the three statements are logically equivalent. Axioms come from intuition, everything else is iron logic. Mathematicians try to use as few axioms as possible, and they try to make those axioms as simple as possible, because intuition leads down wrong pathways all the time (see: Trisecting the Angle, arguments against the existence of irrational numbers, etc.).

Perhaps not coincidentally, one-half of one percent of PhD's in mathematics are awarded to women. From personal experience: there were no women in any of my math classes above Sophomore level, and then only in Undergraduate Symposium.