Friday, August 26, 2005


"The Times" of London is a highly recommendable paper for its straight-down-the middle accounts of most things (unlike a certain New York publication). The fact that it is a Rupert Murdoch publication (think Fox News) probably has something to do with that. But I think even "The Times" was a bit courageous to print the following story (excerpt):

"A study claims that the cleverest people are much more likely to be men than women. Men are more intelligent than women by about five IQ points on average, making them better suited for "tasks of high complexity", according to the authors of a paper due to be published in the British Journal of Psychology. Genetic differences in intelligence between the sexes helped to explain why many more men than women won Nobel Prizes or became chess grandmasters, the study by Paul Irwing and Professor Richard Lynn concluded. They showed that men outnumbered women in increasing numbers as intelligence levels rise. There were twice as many with IQ scores of 125, a level typical for people with first-class degrees. When scores rose to 155, a level associated with genius, there were 5.5 men for every woman. Dr Irwing, a senior lecturer in organisational psychology at Manchester University, said that he was uncomfortable with the findings. But he added that the evidence was clear despite the insistence of many academics that there were "no meaningful sex differences" in levels of intelligence".


Before all my female readers delete their bookmarks to this site, let me explain. I am a psychometrician by trade so I do know a little about this. First, let me point out that British Journal of Psychology is Britain's top academic psychology journal. So it needs to be reckoned with. What it reports, however, has in fact been known to psychometricians for about 100 years. And that is that men and women have the same intelligence ON AVERAGE but the scatter of intelligence differs between the sexes. Female intelligence clusters much more closely around the average -- so there are fewer very dumb women and fewer very bright women. And that, I am afraid, is how the cookie crumbles. The geniuses tend to be men but so do the dummos. And I am sure most women have met plenty of the latter.


For those who want to look at the male/female ability question more closely, there is an exhaustive (and exhausting) coverage of the question here -- and that's just covering the mathematical ability component of IQ.


No comments: