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