Re: Gender differences

24 May 1995 00:26:59 GMT

Warren Sarle ( wrote:

: We're getting this backwards. _Cognitive_ gender differences have been
: firmly established for decades, as indicated in the aforementioned Sci
: Am article. The issue is not _whether_ gender differences exist, but
: _why_ they exist.

: Cognitive differences would suggest that neurological differences are
: likely to exist, but it is much more difficult to demonstrate
: neurological differences. You can give cognitive tests to millions of
: people (the ETS does so). Persuading those millions of people to let you
: chop up their brains is considerably more difficult. Recent advances in
: brain imaging have made it much more feasible to investigate
: neurological differences, but brain scans are still a lot more expensive
: than giving an SAT or IQ test. The studies that I have seen that claim
: to present evidence for neurological differences are based on small
: (ten to a hundred or so Ss) nonrandom samples, and are therefore less
: than convincing.

: Simply showing that neurological differences exist does not address the
: issue of why such differences might exist, and we would still be
: enmeshed in the usual nature vs. nurture arguments, since those pesky
: ethics committees will not let us run the proper experiments on humans
: to settle such issues.

: --

: Warren S. Sarle SAS Institute Inc. The opinions expressed here
: SAS Campus Drive are mine and not necessarily
: (919) 677-8000 Cary, NC 27513, USA those of SAS Institute.

As far as I know (and, as an educational psychologist, this is not
unfamiliar territory to me), differences have been established in the
DISTRIBUTION of cognitive functions between males and females. The
central tendency are different for some things; the range is not. Given
that there is no part of the distribution that is exclusively male or
female (as far as I know), it seems unlikely that there are fundamental
neurological differences. On the other hand, I am not a geneticist,
biologist, or neurologist, so maybe someone who is can explain how
distributions with the same range can show fundamental neurological

David Wasserman (
Curmudgeon-At-Large (
"The older I get, the more value I place on experience."