Gender Differences in Cognitive Ability

Is there a difference?
Is there truly a difference between males and females in matters of the brain and its abilities? Some believe that females are more talented when it comes to language skills than their male counterparts. Likewise, males are thought by some to have better visual-spatial skills.

It is important to note that studies that have found a gap between men and women's abilities have also found much more overlap. A man can grasp the skills of language just as well as a female. Similarly, many women excel in spatial skills.

Study Flaws
Not all studies even find a difference at all. However, you never hear about those on the news or the Discovery channel. In fact, they may not even get published at all, because to look for a difference and not find may not be considered worthy of publication. This tends to skew public perception of the issue. Secondly, the differences found are in very limited, rather contrived situations.

Most importantly, the differences that have been found are extremely, small. Examining the numbers in the studies shows this. By using some standard guidelines of statistics, it is possible to analyze the analysis itself. In other words, we can gage how big the difference is, to determine whether or not it is big enough to matter in any practical way.

This is referred to as "effect size." The largest gender difference only had an effect size of 0.25. Effect sizes of 0.2 are considered small, 0.5 are considered moderate, and 0.8 are considered large. So even the largest gender difference on record is considered a small difference.

So why can't they remember our birthdays and anniversaries?

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