Thu, 25 May 95 05:38:34 -0500

NE>From: (Warren Sarle)
NE>Subject: Re: Gender differences

NE>[Gerald replied:]
NE>>Scientific american presented some of the latest results about a year
NE>>ago. Clear differences were shown between male and female cognitive

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

What? You don't believe that those Chinese girls can really do that
math?? <g>

NE>Cognitive differences would suggest that neurological differences are
NE>likely to exist, but it is much more difficult to demonstrate
NE>neurological differences. You can give cognitive tests to millions of
NE>people (the ETS does so).

What kinds of tests are given by ETS? If you are referring to the SAT
and the GRE, those are tests of educational skills and of familiarity
with upper middle class American male culture; they are not tests of
cognitive function. (Please do not scream, "Sour grapes!", at me, as I
am one woman who scored very high, so I may be permitted to critique the
ETS without fear of such accusation.)

Persuading those millions of people to let you
NE>chop up their brains is considerably more difficult.

We could, however, if we worked at it, persuade some of those persons
who have been tested in their lifetimes to leave their brains to science
for autopsy. Is there any mad scientist out there who wishes to
cannibalize my neurons? Umm, tasty, I promise!

Recent advances in
NE>brain imaging have made it much more feasible to investigate
NE>neurological differences, but brain scans are still a lot more expensive
NE>than giving an SAT or IQ test. The studies that I have seen that claim
NE>to present evidence for neurological differences are based on small
NE>(ten to a hundred or so Ss) nonrandom samples, and are therefore less
NE>than convincing.

<g> Harvard grad students are not exactly a random sample, are they?
The 3-27-95 Newsweek had a synopsis of Ruben Gur's work at Penn, but no
reference. Does anyone know the reference for the actual reporting of
the experiments?

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

<g> Sshhh, don't tell anyone, but I have been conducting experiments for
over 20 years! Was I supposed to get permission from someone? ;) I
operate on the brains of children every day, and I have never found two
alike, nor have I found gender stereotypes to be at all reliable. Of
course, I realize that these are not the "proper experiments." What
does amaze me is that when scientists have questions of this kind, they
hardly ever think to ask the people who work with children's cognitive
functions day in and day out. Kind of an anthropological blind spot
there, huh!


€ OLX 2.1 TD € Dumb luck beats sound planning every time.