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Old March 1st 05, 03:02 AM
Tyrone Slothrop
 
Posts: n/a
Default This might explain differing aptitudes for chess between men and women

Summers' Remarks Supported by Some Experts
Mon Feb 28, 3:20 PM ET Science - AP
By MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer

Harvard University president Lawrence Summers has suffered acrimonious
condemnation, and may have jeopardized his job, for suggesting that the
underrepresentation of women in engineering and some scientific fields
may be due in part to inherent differences in the intellectual
abilities of the sexes. But Summers could be right.

Some scholars who are in the know about the differences between mens'
and womens' brains believe his remarks have merit.

"Among people who do the research, it's not so controversial. There are
lots and lots of studies that show that mens' and womens' brains are
different," says Richard J. Haier, a professor of psychology in the
pediatrics department of the University of California Los Angeles
medical school.

Academia has been bitterly divided in recent years by the nature vs.
nurture debate, and the Harvard president's comments last month at a
National Bureau of Economic Research symposium squarely address aspects
of that dispute that are so controversial the opposing sides almost
never discuss them.

On one side are those who believe the sexes are equal enough in their
intellectual abilities that any biological difference between them is
vastly outweighed by social pressures and discrimination that
discourage girls and women from pursuing science and engineering.

"When people hear 'biology' they think there's nothing you can do about
it," says Joshua Aronson, a professor of applied psychology at New York
University. "It's in that context that Summers' remarks are not
helpful."

On the other side are those who believe that biological differences
between men and women really can account for at least some of the
underrepresentation of women in engineering and some fields of science.


"I think it's an outrage that certain questions - that real,
important questions - can't be raised in an academic atmosphere, that
research that's well-known can't be presented without some sort of
hysterical response," says Linda S. Gottfredson, a psychologist at the
University of Delaware.

In recent years, scientists have found that male and female brains are
wired differently from one another, due to the role of testosterone and
other male hormones during gestation. Brains growing under the
influence of male hormones are slightly larger and have denser
concentrations of neurons in some regions.

Male brains also contain a greater proportion of gray matter, the part
of the brain responsible for computation, while women have relatively
more white matter, which specializes in making connections between
brain cells.

Brain-imaging studies suggest that both sexes exploit these differences
to their benefit. UCLA researchers have done brain scans of men and
women who scored in the top 1 percent on the math section of the SAT.
As they worked on math problems, the men relied heavily on the grey
matter in the brain's parietal and cerebral cortices. Women showed
greater activity in areas dominated by the well-connected white matter.


"Maybe they're doing the math using the white matter," Haier says.
"It's not completely unreasonable."

So men and women appear to use their brains differently in some
situations. Does that make any difference in how smart they are?

The short answer is no. Average IQ is the same among men and women.

But it's the long answer, which considers different kinds of cognitive
ability and speculates about how they are distributed among individuals
in the two sexes, that has been raised in support of Summers' remarks.

Intelligence tests have found that men, on average, perform better on
spatial tasks that require mentally rotating or otherwise manipulating
objects. Men also do better on tests of mathematical reasoning. Women
tend to do better than men on tasks requiring verbal memory and
distinguishing whether objects are similar or different. The relative
strengths even out, so on average the sexes are of equal intelligence.

Some studies also have suggested that the IQ distribution is more
spread out among men. If that is true, then there are proportionately
more men at the extremely brilliant end of the IQ scale - and the
dull end as well.

So the reasoning goes like this: Fields such as physics require superb
mathematical ability. Not just above average, but really out there.

If men do have a slight advantage over women in mathematical ability,
as much of the current research suggests, and there are more men at the
extreme ends of the intelligence spectrum, that suggests there is a
larger pool of men who can do the heavy intellectual lifting physics
requires.

But is the difference really biological, or are exceptional girls and
women intimidated by cultural stereotypes and discouraged from
cultivating their talents from an early age?

"If I had to guess, the real reason for the lack of women in the upper
strata is that there's a comfort zone when you walk into a classroom
and see a certain number of people like you," Aronson says.

Female physicists and engineers almost always live their entire
professional lives outside that comfort zone. Aronson and his
colleagues have shown that many of the performance differences between
men and women, and also between different races, can be erased with
minor adjustments that influence test takers' confidence. Tell a group
of girls before a math exam that the test does not detect gender
differences in mathematical ability and their scores increase. Tell
white men before a similar exam that their scores are going to be
compared to those of Asians and their scores drop simply because they
think they won't measure up.

"This suggests there's something about the testing situation itself,"
Aronson says. "If there is a biological difference, then it's one
that's awfully easy to overcome."

Whatever the reason, researchers have found differences in math ability
between males and females from pre-kindergarten through adulthood.

Vanderbilt University psychologists who have been giving exceptionally
bright 12- to 14-year-olds the SAT for more than 20 years have found
that boys do exceptionally well on the math side of the exam. In a
sample of 40,000 children who took the test, twice as many boys as
girls scored above 500, four times as many boys scored above 600 and 13
times as many topped 700. The sexes were equally matched on the verbal
portion of the test, which is scored on a scale of 200 to 800.

That would suggest there are differences between the sexes in innate
ability, the Vanderbilt researchers have concluded in various
scientific papers.

Though they declined to be interviewed about Summers' comments, members
of the Vanderbilt group offered another possible explanation for the
shortage of women in engineering, physics and related fields in the
November 2000 issue of Psychological Science.

The psychologists followed up with one group of exceptionally talented
people 20 years after they had taken the SAT. Male or female, all of
the subjects had scored well enough on the test to handle just about
any career they chose.

At the age of 33, fewer of the women had pursued careers in physics,
engineering, computer science and related fields. But the women
outnumbered the men in medicine, social sciences and the humanities.
And the two sexes had earned advanced degrees at about equal rates,
which suggests that although women may have been steered away from
certain fields by biology, discrimination or a lack of role models,
they had not simply dropped out but had fully achieved their potential
in the fields they did pursue.

"Although equally achieving educationally," the Vanderbilt researchers
wrote, "these men and women appear to have constructed satisfying and
meaningful lives that took somewhat different forms."

  #2   Report Post  
Old March 1st 05, 11:17 AM
Chess One
 
Posts: n/a
Default

Tyrone, thanks for posting this report. I notice that it employs a number of
euphemisms, like 'differences', as if their is an implicit inferiority in
any difference. It's also not particularly sharp in its use of the term
'intelligence' so as to define it. Isn't it Harvard's own Dr. Gardner, who
has been pointing out for all these years that there are perhaps 9 distinct
'intelligences'.

[IQ testing is a hoary old standard, and as one shrink of my acquaintance
quipped, "is an accurate measure of how well a specific individual performs
at IQ tests" - but is actually a combined form of a variety of means by
which an individual can appreciate a problem, with linear abilities to
process that problem]

I note at the end there are more interesting comments on the sociology of
the situation. While women can deploy themselves in male-oriented arenas,
and perform as well as men, or even not to their full potential, the
drop-out rate would be appear to be for sociological reasons rather than
brain-biologies.

Cordially, Phil Innes


"Tyrone Slothrop" wrote in message
oups.com...
Summers' Remarks Supported by Some Experts
Mon Feb 28, 3:20 PM ET Science - AP
By MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer

Harvard University president Lawrence Summers has suffered acrimonious
condemnation, and may have jeopardized his job, for suggesting that the
underrepresentation of women in engineering and some scientific fields
may be due in part to inherent differences in the intellectual
abilities of the sexes. But Summers could be right.

Some scholars who are in the know about the differences between mens'
and womens' brains believe his remarks have merit.

"Among people who do the research, it's not so controversial. There are
lots and lots of studies that show that mens' and womens' brains are
different," says Richard J. Haier, a professor of psychology in the
pediatrics department of the University of California Los Angeles
medical school.

Academia has been bitterly divided in recent years by the nature vs.
nurture debate, and the Harvard president's comments last month at a
National Bureau of Economic Research symposium squarely address aspects
of that dispute that are so controversial the opposing sides almost
never discuss them.

On one side are those who believe the sexes are equal enough in their
intellectual abilities that any biological difference between them is
vastly outweighed by social pressures and discrimination that
discourage girls and women from pursuing science and engineering.

"When people hear 'biology' they think there's nothing you can do about
it," says Joshua Aronson, a professor of applied psychology at New York
University. "It's in that context that Summers' remarks are not
helpful."

On the other side are those who believe that biological differences
between men and women really can account for at least some of the
underrepresentation of women in engineering and some fields of science.


"I think it's an outrage that certain questions - that real,
important questions - can't be raised in an academic atmosphere, that
research that's well-known can't be presented without some sort of
hysterical response," says Linda S. Gottfredson, a psychologist at the
University of Delaware.

In recent years, scientists have found that male and female brains are
wired differently from one another, due to the role of testosterone and
other male hormones during gestation. Brains growing under the
influence of male hormones are slightly larger and have denser
concentrations of neurons in some regions.

Male brains also contain a greater proportion of gray matter, the part
of the brain responsible for computation, while women have relatively
more white matter, which specializes in making connections between
brain cells.

Brain-imaging studies suggest that both sexes exploit these differences
to their benefit. UCLA researchers have done brain scans of men and
women who scored in the top 1 percent on the math section of the SAT.
As they worked on math problems, the men relied heavily on the grey
matter in the brain's parietal and cerebral cortices. Women showed
greater activity in areas dominated by the well-connected white matter.


"Maybe they're doing the math using the white matter," Haier says.
"It's not completely unreasonable."

So men and women appear to use their brains differently in some
situations. Does that make any difference in how smart they are?

The short answer is no. Average IQ is the same among men and women.

But it's the long answer, which considers different kinds of cognitive
ability and speculates about how they are distributed among individuals
in the two sexes, that has been raised in support of Summers' remarks.

Intelligence tests have found that men, on average, perform better on
spatial tasks that require mentally rotating or otherwise manipulating
objects. Men also do better on tests of mathematical reasoning. Women
tend to do better than men on tasks requiring verbal memory and
distinguishing whether objects are similar or different. The relative
strengths even out, so on average the sexes are of equal intelligence.

Some studies also have suggested that the IQ distribution is more
spread out among men. If that is true, then there are proportionately
more men at the extremely brilliant end of the IQ scale - and the
dull end as well.

So the reasoning goes like this: Fields such as physics require superb
mathematical ability. Not just above average, but really out there.

If men do have a slight advantage over women in mathematical ability,
as much of the current research suggests, and there are more men at the
extreme ends of the intelligence spectrum, that suggests there is a
larger pool of men who can do the heavy intellectual lifting physics
requires.

But is the difference really biological, or are exceptional girls and
women intimidated by cultural stereotypes and discouraged from
cultivating their talents from an early age?

"If I had to guess, the real reason for the lack of women in the upper
strata is that there's a comfort zone when you walk into a classroom
and see a certain number of people like you," Aronson says.

Female physicists and engineers almost always live their entire
professional lives outside that comfort zone. Aronson and his
colleagues have shown that many of the performance differences between
men and women, and also between different races, can be erased with
minor adjustments that influence test takers' confidence. Tell a group
of girls before a math exam that the test does not detect gender
differences in mathematical ability and their scores increase. Tell
white men before a similar exam that their scores are going to be
compared to those of Asians and their scores drop simply because they
think they won't measure up.

"This suggests there's something about the testing situation itself,"
Aronson says. "If there is a biological difference, then it's one
that's awfully easy to overcome."

Whatever the reason, researchers have found differences in math ability
between males and females from pre-kindergarten through adulthood.

Vanderbilt University psychologists who have been giving exceptionally
bright 12- to 14-year-olds the SAT for more than 20 years have found
that boys do exceptionally well on the math side of the exam. In a
sample of 40,000 children who took the test, twice as many boys as
girls scored above 500, four times as many boys scored above 600 and 13
times as many topped 700. The sexes were equally matched on the verbal
portion of the test, which is scored on a scale of 200 to 800.

That would suggest there are differences between the sexes in innate
ability, the Vanderbilt researchers have concluded in various
scientific papers.

Though they declined to be interviewed about Summers' comments, members
of the Vanderbilt group offered another possible explanation for the
shortage of women in engineering, physics and related fields in the
November 2000 issue of Psychological Science.

The psychologists followed up with one group of exceptionally talented
people 20 years after they had taken the SAT. Male or female, all of
the subjects had scored well enough on the test to handle just about
any career they chose.

At the age of 33, fewer of the women had pursued careers in physics,
engineering, computer science and related fields. But the women
outnumbered the men in medicine, social sciences and the humanities.
And the two sexes had earned advanced degrees at about equal rates,
which suggests that although women may have been steered away from
certain fields by biology, discrimination or a lack of role models,
they had not simply dropped out but had fully achieved their potential
in the fields they did pursue.

"Although equally achieving educationally," the Vanderbilt researchers
wrote, "these men and women appear to have constructed satisfying and
meaningful lives that took somewhat different forms."



  #3   Report Post  
Old March 1st 05, 04:21 PM
Angelo De Pa1ma
 
Posts: n/a
Default




This has never actually been tested because we don't know which, if any,
genetic differences to test for.



"Chess One" wrote

I note at the end there are more interesting comments on the sociology of
the situation. While women can deploy themselves in male-oriented arenas,
and perform as well as men, or even not to their full potential, the
drop-out rate would be appear to be for sociological reasons rather than
brain-biologies.

Cordially, Phil Innes


"Tyrone Slothrop" wrote in message
oups.com...
Summers' Remarks Supported by Some Experts
Mon Feb 28, 3:20 PM ET Science - AP
By MATT CRENSON, AP National Writer

Harvard University president Lawrence Summers has suffered acrimonious
condemnation, and may have jeopardized his job, for suggesting that the
underrepresentation of women in engineering and some scientific fields
may be due in part to inherent differences in the intellectual
abilities of the sexes. But Summers could be right.

Some scholars who are in the know about the differences between mens'
and womens' brains believe his remarks have merit.

"Among people who do the research, it's not so controversial. There are
lots and lots of studies that show that mens' and womens' brains are
different," says Richard J. Haier, a professor of psychology in the
pediatrics department of the University of California Los Angeles
medical school.

Academia has been bitterly divided in recent years by the nature vs.
nurture debate, and the Harvard president's comments last month at a
National Bureau of Economic Research symposium squarely address aspects
of that dispute that are so controversial the opposing sides almost
never discuss them.

On one side are those who believe the sexes are equal enough in their
intellectual abilities that any biological difference between them is
vastly outweighed by social pressures and discrimination that
discourage girls and women from pursuing science and engineering.

"When people hear 'biology' they think there's nothing you can do about
it," says Joshua Aronson, a professor of applied psychology at New York
University. "It's in that context that Summers' remarks are not
helpful."

On the other side are those who believe that biological differences
between men and women really can account for at least some of the
underrepresentation of women in engineering and some fields of science.


"I think it's an outrage that certain questions - that real,
important questions - can't be raised in an academic atmosphere, that
research that's well-known can't be presented without some sort of
hysterical response," says Linda S. Gottfredson, a psychologist at the
University of Delaware.

In recent years, scientists have found that male and female brains are
wired differently from one another, due to the role of testosterone and
other male hormones during gestation. Brains growing under the
influence of male hormones are slightly larger and have denser
concentrations of neurons in some regions.

Male brains also contain a greater proportion of gray matter, the part
of the brain responsible for computation, while women have relatively
more white matter, which specializes in making connections between
brain cells.

Brain-imaging studies suggest that both sexes exploit these differences
to their benefit. UCLA researchers have done brain scans of men and
women who scored in the top 1 percent on the math section of the SAT.
As they worked on math problems, the men relied heavily on the grey
matter in the brain's parietal and cerebral cortices. Women showed
greater activity in areas dominated by the well-connected white matter.


"Maybe they're doing the math using the white matter," Haier says.
"It's not completely unreasonable."

So men and women appear to use their brains differently in some
situations. Does that make any difference in how smart they are?

The short answer is no. Average IQ is the same among men and women.

But it's the long answer, which considers different kinds of cognitive
ability and speculates about how they are distributed among individuals
in the two sexes, that has been raised in support of Summers' remarks.

Intelligence tests have found that men, on average, perform better on
spatial tasks that require mentally rotating or otherwise manipulating
objects. Men also do better on tests of mathematical reasoning. Women
tend to do better than men on tasks requiring verbal memory and
distinguishing whether objects are similar or different. The relative
strengths even out, so on average the sexes are of equal intelligence.

Some studies also have suggested that the IQ distribution is more
spread out among men. If that is true, then there are proportionately
more men at the extremely brilliant end of the IQ scale - and the
dull end as well.

So the reasoning goes like this: Fields such as physics require superb
mathematical ability. Not just above average, but really out there.

If men do have a slight advantage over women in mathematical ability,
as much of the current research suggests, and there are more men at the
extreme ends of the intelligence spectrum, that suggests there is a
larger pool of men who can do the heavy intellectual lifting physics
requires.

But is the difference really biological, or are exceptional girls and
women intimidated by cultural stereotypes and discouraged from
cultivating their talents from an early age?

"If I had to guess, the real reason for the lack of women in the upper
strata is that there's a comfort zone when you walk into a classroom
and see a certain number of people like you," Aronson says.

Female physicists and engineers almost always live their entire
professional lives outside that comfort zone. Aronson and his
colleagues have shown that many of the performance differences between
men and women, and also between different races, can be erased with
minor adjustments that influence test takers' confidence. Tell a group
of girls before a math exam that the test does not detect gender
differences in mathematical ability and their scores increase. Tell
white men before a similar exam that their scores are going to be
compared to those of Asians and their scores drop simply because they
think they won't measure up.

"This suggests there's something about the testing situation itself,"
Aronson says. "If there is a biological difference, then it's one
that's awfully easy to overcome."

Whatever the reason, researchers have found differences in math ability
between males and females from pre-kindergarten through adulthood.

Vanderbilt University psychologists who have been giving exceptionally
bright 12- to 14-year-olds the SAT for more than 20 years have found
that boys do exceptionally well on the math side of the exam. In a
sample of 40,000 children who took the test, twice as many boys as
girls scored above 500, four times as many boys scored above 600 and 13
times as many topped 700. The sexes were equally matched on the verbal
portion of the test, which is scored on a scale of 200 to 800.

That would suggest there are differences between the sexes in innate
ability, the Vanderbilt researchers have concluded in various
scientific papers.

Though they declined to be interviewed about Summers' comments, members
of the Vanderbilt group offered another possible explanation for the
shortage of women in engineering, physics and related fields in the
November 2000 issue of Psychological Science.

The psychologists followed up with one group of exceptionally talented
people 20 years after they had taken the SAT. Male or female, all of
the subjects had scored well enough on the test to handle just about
any career they chose.

At the age of 33, fewer of the women had pursued careers in physics,
engineering, computer science and related fields. But the women
outnumbered the men in medicine, social sciences and the humanities.
And the two sexes had earned advanced degrees at about equal rates,
which suggests that although women may have been steered away from
certain fields by biology, discrimination or a lack of role models,
they had not simply dropped out but had fully achieved their potential
in the fields they did pursue.

"Although equally achieving educationally," the Vanderbilt researchers
wrote, "these men and women appear to have constructed satisfying and
meaningful lives that took somewhat different forms."





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