22 Comments

  1. While it may be that the means for men and women are different, I would like to point out that the SAT tends to sample overwhelmingly from the right half of the general bell curve (being that test-takers mostly intend to attend college) and so, if the notion that the main difference between the intelligence distributions of males and females is the standard deviation (that is, men have a wider distribution than women), it would be expected that the SAT scores for men would be higher than those for women, even if the averages were the same and even possibly if the male average were lower than the female average, as the wider male tail on the left end wouldn’t be sampled.

    Nonetheless, the SAT gap certainly isn’t evidence against the notion that males have a higher average intelligence.

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  2. @r.a. – ah! good point. (i keep forgetting that not everyone takes the sats/acts ’cause everyone in my high school did. never realized until much later that not everyone did.)

    but, yeah, more really smart men in this world than really smart women also seems pretty much to be the gist of it.

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  3. I am feeling lazy today and don’t feel like looking up resources ….

    Here we go:

    More females than males enter college.

    Could it be that because of the enlarged sample that numbers for females are being lowered by the individuals being pulled from the left curve of the bell?

    What is the average SAT if equal portions of race are included in each gender sample?

    What is the effect to the average SATs for females if the the female individuals who make little to no financial investment in their education (welfare mothers) are removed from the sample?

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  4. @rjp – “More females than males enter college. Could it be that because of the enlarged sample that numbers for females are being lowered by the individuals being pulled from the left curve of the bell?”

    maybe!

    @rjp – “What is the effect to the average SATs for females if the the female individuals who make little to no financial investment in their education (welfare mothers) are removed from the sample?”

    do a lot of welfare moms take the sats? mightn’t they just go directly to a junior college?

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  5. Dang. Both my thoughts have been already pointed out. one final thing: what happened in all the years in between? it could easily be reversed in say 1998, 2002, 2003, and 2007, for examples ;)

    Steve Pengler

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  6. SAT suffers from selection bias – girls take it proportionally more because they are more disciplined and more conformist. IIRC, “real” IQ tests tend to show that the difference in the means, if it exists, appears to be small – too small, I think, for it to be easily noticeable by almost everyone. It probably comes down to 1) higher SD for men (this is very solidly documented), 2) higher importance in real life of quantitative skills (advantage men) over verbal (advantage women). So, when 95% of one’s social circle is people with IQ of >120, the difference becomes quite obvious.

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  7. @nanonymous – “So, when 95% of one’s social circle is people with IQ of >120, the difference becomes quite obvious.”

    most of my social circle for most of my life has consisted of folks with pretty average iqs (working class background chick) and i still have the impression that men are, on average, smarter than women. maybe, tho, that’s ’cause you can have a conversation with even an average-intelligence guy about something interesting like car engines or space exploration, whereas your average-intelligence chick just wants to discuss clothes or how terrible the neighbors are. (~_^)

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  8. The Putnam Mathematical competition, which is for undergrads in Canada and the USA, is the ultimate math competition. Those who do well are at the extreme right end of the math ability/problem solving distribution. Very few women do well, but there have been a few. Since about 2005 the competition has been dominated by east Asians.

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  9. I should add that very few men do well on the Putnam either, even people who are really good at math. Lots of people who go on to get PhD’s in Math do dismally on the Putnam. The Putnam skims off the creme de la creme.

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  10. @melykin – “The Putnam skims off the creme de la creme.”

    sure. well that’s the long-tail of the men’s bell curve coming into play there. like nanonymous said above — the higher sd for men.

    i’m still also pretty persuaded by a 4-5 point higher average for men, too, tho. judging by everything i’ve read and, like i said, my experience in life.

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  11. Nanonymous wrote:
    [There is a] higher importance in real life of quantitative skills (advantage men) over verbal (advantage women)

    Upon what do you base this?

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  12. @justthisguy – “The Normals act strangely to us, not like they do with themselves.”

    that’s true, that’s true. but sometimes i am exposed to nts behaving as they typically do in their natural habitat. (~_^) i’m especially thinking of family gatherings (one side of the family are all dysfunctional aspies, the other only partially so — and since i have a BIG family, i think i’m exposed to quite a lot of nt behavior) where i get to experience immersion in a gaggle of nt women. then they don’t really take any note of me (’cause there’s so many of them) and they just behave normally. then it’s all clothes and how bad the neighbors are.

    otoh, if i get myself out of the kitchen and into the living room, most of the men in the family are discussing politics or, at least, cars or something.

    i really think there’s a 4-5 pt. iq difference between men and women. that’s how i experience it anyway.

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  13. Maybe another element’s at work too. Men who have an IQ point or two to spare tend to enjoy ’em. We pull ’em out and play with them. It’s like having a dick — great fun, so we waggle it around. But women with a little surplus mental power, as far as I can tell, often don’t particularly really enjoy playing with it. I’ve known women with loads of spare inborn mental horsepower, and very few of them genuinely get a kick out of putting it to use. They might work as lawyers or writers, but they don’t love it, and they’d really rather talk about kids, schools, food, fashions, celebs …

    Plus it seems to me that many women with brains wind up in conflict with themselves. Their female nature, if you will, pulls in one direction, while their brains pull in another. And they wind up stymied. Guys by contrast tend to feel no such conflict. We just like enjoying the horsepower.

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  14. @anonymous – “I’ve known women with loads of spare inborn mental horsepower, and very few of them genuinely get a kick out of putting it to use. They might work as lawyers or writers, but they don’t love it, and they’d really rather talk about kids, schools, food, fashions, celebs …”

    yes, there is something to what you say here. you’ve just described two women i know (family members) exactly. both pretty smart — and if i steer them in the right direction, interesting to talk to — but most of the time they just want to gossip or talk about food/clothes. i can do that for a while … but only for a short while. ’cause it’s BORING! (^_^)

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  15. The SATs are not an IQ test. The only thing they measure are your parents’ income status and financial investment in you as a student. If there’s a marked gender gap, it’s due to a systemic difference in how parents invest in their children, or how society/school educates the different genders. Saying that there are fundamental differences between sexes using this data is about equivalent to (using the same data) saying that Hispanics are less intelligent than Whites, or that kids from poor families are less intelligent than rich.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/03/05/these-four-charts-show-how-the-sat-favors-the-rich-educated-families/

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  16. @anonymous – “The SATs are not an IQ test.”

    the sats are a sort-of iq test — they test the iqs of your parents, which you have inherited from them. (~_^)

    (not in every case, of course — we’re talking about averages of groups here.)

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  17. Ok, 4% difference between the sex data for the total, and about 6% difference for math. If I went into the lab and did an experiment and was off by that little I would think it was withing experimental error.

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