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Race, Gender and Intelligence

  • #1
    Closed Accounts Posts: 152 ✭✭ LiveIsLife


    Do people think gender or race play a role? It's something that is often shut down before any discussion can take place and labeled as racist. Regarding race, there are obvious physical differences, so could there be mental differences between humans that aren't down to gender? Or are we too young as a species and specific human races around to short a time to have diverged in intelligence?
    Regarding gender, there are obvious psychological differences but does this extend to intelligence? I suppose it depends how you measure intelligence too, you could probably say men are higher in spatial intelligence and women higher in emotional intelligence on average. But one thing I've heard but never really checked out is that at the very top end of scale, men tend to be smarter than women. So even though on average it might even out and lead to the average woman being smarter than the average man, the people with the highest intelligence capabilities are men.

    What do people think?


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Comments



  • Its not a topic I have looked into in any great detail. But I wouldn't think race or gender would play any significant role in intelligence.

    I think the main thing that would affect it (if there was a measurable difference in whatever you deem to be "intelligence") would be environment and in particular education.

    That may differ from region to region, for example the Japanese method of learning maths differs a bit from how we do it. And this is credited with producing a higher standard of numeracy. There is the old internet view of Asian kids being smarter on the back of these types of things but its down to education rather than race. Some more reading here if you're interested.

    I guess it might be the case for women that traditionally gender roles encouraged them not to focus on education and re-enforced the view that they were not as intelligent than men. There is some information of different studies on this wiki page and from what it seems there is no real difference between the intelligence of men and women just some variation in specific abilities. Which again may be environmental rather than genetic.




  • For purposes of this discussion, how is intelligence defined? Without a clear definition, claims that there are differences by gender or race are problematic.
    LiveIsLife wrote: »
    I've heard but never really checked out is that at the very top end of scale, men tend to be smarter than women.
    You have "heard but never really checked out" that "men tend to be smarter than women?" Don't you think that it would be worth while to review a bit of the relevant literature before making such broad sweeping and unsupported statements?
    I guess it might be the case for women that traditionally gender roles encouraged them not to focus on education and re-enforced the view that they were not as intelligent than men.
    Are you discussing intelligence or educational attainment? There can be substantial differences depending on how each is defined in terms of what they measure, as well as what associations may or may not exist between these two concepts by gender.

    Your case for women, traditional gender roles, and the observation that women were not encouraged "to focus on education" is way, way behind times. Since World War II the numbers of women enrolling and completing higher education degrees has dramatically increased, especially in the United States. According to Pew Research Center (2 March 2014) there were more women enrolled and completing degrees in higher education than men in the US, and there was a large and increasing gap between women and men, with more women than men participating in higher education attainment (Population Reference Bureau, April 2011).




  • Black Swan wrote: »
    Are you discussing intelligence or educational achievement? There can be substantial differences depending on how each is defined in terms of what they measure, as well as what associations may or may not exist between these two concepts by gender.

    I'm discussing environmental effects on perceived intelligence. In general I don't think anyone is born more or less intelligent than anyone else. I think the environment they grow up in and the standard of education they get will shape their intellect.
    Your case for women, traditional gender roles, and the observation that women were not encouraged "to focus on education" is way, way behind times. Since World War II the numbers of women enrolling and completing higher education degrees has dramatically increased, especially in the United States. According to Pew Research Center (2 March 2014) there were more women enrolled and completing degrees in higher education than men in the US, and there was a large and increasing gap between women and men, with more women than men participating in higher education achievement.

    I just meant that traditional gender roles is where this notion that the OP mentions of men being smarter than women came from. As you say its changed dramatically but its not that long ago that these views were the standard and as a result the numbers of women in and at the top of many professions was few up until very recently. As the wiki page seems to show that while men and women can perform differently on different tasks there is nor ever was any credible basis for the argument that men are more intelligent than women.




  • I'm discussing environmental effects on perceived intelligence. In general I don't think anyone is born more or less intelligent than anyone else. I think the environment they grow up in and the standard of education they get will shape their intellect.
    Once again, for the purposes of our discussion, how do you define "intelligence," perceived or otherwise?

    Referring to women, when you state the "standard of education they get will shape their intellect," by "intellect" are you referring to their "intelligence?" If so, are you confounding intelligence with educational attainment, which are two different concepts?




  • Black Swan wrote: »
    Once again, for the purposes of our discussion, how do you define "intelligence," perceived or otherwise?

    Referring to women, when you state the "standard of education they get will shape their intellect," by "intellect" are you referring to their "intelligence?" If so, are you confounding intelligence with educational attainment, which are two different concepts?

    Intellect and intelligence are NOT mutually exclusive either.

    Very basic example - how would you know if you could understand covalent bonds in chemistry if you were never taught.

    Does that make men better at science etc. simply by default?

    The ability to grasp new things and retain information is only as helpful and useful as the information that is put forward to learn.


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  • Black Swan wrote: »
    For purposes of this discussion, how is intelligence defined? Without a clear definition, claims that there are differences by gender or race are problematic.

    I suppose aptitude, ability to learn new information and problem solving.
    Black Swan wrote: »
    You have "heard but never really checked out" that "men tend to be smarter than women?" Don't you think that it would be worth while to review a bit of the relevant literature before making such broad sweeping and unsupported statements?

    I don't claim to be an expert, that's partly why I started this thread, to learn from people who know more than me, as well as have an interesting discussion. Coming in presenting a load of facts would hardly lead to discussion. In any event I've found what I was talking about, it was Larry Summers and his claims. Taken from wiki:

    "The second hypothesis, the generally greater variability among men (compared to women) in tests of cognitive abilities,[30][31][32] leading to proportionally more males than females at both the lower and upper tails of the test score distributions, caused the most controversy."

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers#Differences_between_the_sexes

    He was widely criticised but was he right or wrong?




  • That's the first time I've ever heard the notion that men were perceived as being more intelligent, let alone, proven to be more intelligent? In my own actual experience, the opposite would be true.




  • It is an interesting question however!

    First of all, there is the perception of Russians being brilliant at chess, Chinese being musically gifted and southern Europeans being artistically inclined. Continue on there with stereotypes as you will....

    I have also always held the personal perception that Americans were a bit dumb. Precipitated presumably by the raucous innocent pleasure they take in tracing their roots to Ireland, the bermuda shorts, the cameras and God help us, the accents. More my own innocence and ignorance of assessing the behaviour of people on holiday, than any measurable proof or evidence!

    In the workplace, I've found them to be some of the most shrewd business people to deal with. They have that useful combination of being cut-throat, yet affable at the same time. I don't know much about their education system, but I do know that as a 'nation', they are one of the most racially and ethnically diverse.

    In terms of women vs men - I find, with some exceptions that women are more intelligent but less ruthless.

    Basically, I would think we are all on a par, with certain negligible nuances in aptitudes in men vs. women, though it is hard to tell whether that is resultant of the historical stereotypes of men/women in terms of the educations they have received.




  • I'm discussing environmental effects on perceived intelligence. In general I don't think anyone is born more or less intelligent than anyone else. I think the environment they grow up in and the standard of education they get will shape their intellect.

    That's clearly not the case. Stephen hawking was simply born different to joey Essex, no amount of environmental differences could have turned Joey into Stephen, not in a million years. That's not just learning, it's the raw ability to learn in the first place.




  • Black Swan wrote: »
    For purposes of this discussion, how is intelligence defined? Without a clear definition, claims that there are differences by gender or race are problematic.
    Add in some level of cultural squeamishness regarding "race" and more recently gender(understandably on both scores) and it can be very problematic. When looking at populations worldwide it's OK to suggest population A may be better or worse than population B at enduring cold, heat, altitude, physical stress etc because of localised selection pressures but any differences apparently disappear above the neck regardless of localised selection pressures.
    You have "heard but never really checked out" that "men tend to be smarter than women?" Don't you think that it would be worth while to review a bit of the relevant literature before making such broad sweeping and unsupported statements?
    Indeed. It seems on IQ testing anyway men and women are pretty equal on average. One study will claim men are slightly ahead while another will claim women are. In both cases the "differences" measured are tiny. There does appear to be a higher variance among males though. Basically there are more males at the top end and more males on the bottom end of the curve, while the female IQ curve is more linear. At the very top end the ratio is 2 to 1 in favour of men. There's been a fair number of studies that support this, here's one.

    "Males have only a marginal advantage in mean levels of g (less than 7% of a standard deviation) from the ASVAB and AFQT, but substantially greater variance. Among the top 2% AFQT scores, there were almost twice as many males as females. These differences could provide a partial basis for sex differences in intellectual eminence."

    I'd add that autism type thinking is much more common in males and at the high functioning end of that spectrum this makes them more likely to be more single minded, even obsessive over a particular subject so application levels will be higher and results will be better. The old idea that it takes 10,000 hours to become proficient at something would make it more likely that the tendency to the more obsessive in the male mind would result in more high achievers in certain areas.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



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  • Black Swan wrote: »
    Once again, for the purposes of our discussion, how do you define "intelligence," perceived or otherwise?

    Referring to women, when you state the "standard of education they get will shape their intellect," by "intellect" are you referring to their "intelligence?" If so, are you confounding intelligence with educational attainment, which are two different concepts?

    Well I'm not really defining it, I'm responding to the question of it which is why I say "perceived" intelligence. I'd imagine it will differ depending on the persons view that is trying to quantify it. I'm just putting forth that wiki page that covers some studies and tests and saying the attempts of those people who conducted them to measure "intelligence" doesn't seem to have shown any real difference between men and women.

    By intellect I don't mean intelligence as such I simply mean the process by which a person will view and solve the problems.




  • There are people who can manage to get others to solve their problems. They are the most intelligent!

    I'll give you an example. Most recent job I held. Stand-off between male boss and outside consultant. In I come. Charm consultant, end up with consultant and male boss working well together again.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, boss fires me. (Well, not quite, but 'lets me go'.). Cliver hoor.




  • As Wibbs has stated already, on average there is no real difference. However males show more deviance from the average.

    It's an interesting topic and is somehow related to the X and Y chromosomes. Females have 2 Xs, and if one copy is "damaged" or mutated in some way they still have another one to rely on. Males however do not, and thus have a higher chance of expressing deviant traits (deviant here meaning atypical not necessarily bad). Thus they have a higher tendency toward idiocy and genius.

    It all comes down to the question: why do males even exist? The Y chromosome is pretty much junk, all it carries is info about sperm production. Everything else that makes up a human being comes from the X chromosome.

    Here is one theory: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_Queen_hypothesis
    Males exist to mix things up genetically. Indeed many bad things like war/rape etc can be posited of as an extension of this. Horrible as these things seem to us, our selfish genes do not care - it's all about continued evolution.

    Regarding race: this is an even more incendiary topic. Some studies have shown that certain isolated tribes test poorly for IQ when compared to mainstream humans. This is thought to arise from them going through a genetic bottleneck, which is on average detrimental to any species compared to the hybrid vigour expressed by a healthy genepool. Also might explain why racists are so dumb :p




  • That's clearly not the case. Stephen hawking was simply born different to joey Essex, no amount of environmental differences could have turned Joey into Stephen, not in a million years. That's not just learning, it's the raw ability to learn in the first place.

    Is that clear though ?

    Stephen Hawking while an intelligent man excels in one particular field for which he has an aptitude for and a keen interest in. His aptitude may not have come from his education but that's not to say it didn't come from his environment and it was purely genetic. Any number of factors in a child early developmental stages could be the cause of any particular way of viewing things which may enable an individual to perform better at certain tasks.

    Joey Essex is a product of his environment. While he plays up his ignorance for his TV career I do not buy that had he being raised in a different environment and learned a different world view that it would be impossible for him to have an aptitude for physics.

    Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking's friend, colleague, collaborator and a mathematical physicist wrote in Road to Reality that he does not believe that most people have an innate ineptitude in relation to mathematics. And that aversion and ineptitude is likely caused by poor education and lack of confidence.




  • It seems clear enough to me, what is an aptitude for something like physics if not intelligence? You can see it quite plainly in even young kids some just get things quicker than others, or can grasp concepts that their peers simply can't, you see it even among siblings who share more or less identical up bringings.
    Some abilities are just inate and whereas they can definitely be honed and focused, you have to have the bare ability just in you somewhere from birth for that to happen. Same for all abilities, music, sport and so on, not just intelligence. If the processor isn't up to speed no amount of time spent tweaking the programming will make all that much difference. You could no more turn Wayne Rooney into Stephen Hawking than you could have Stephen Hawking playing up front for united (actually never mind, they could probably do with him at the moment:D)




  • It seems clear enough to me, what is an aptitude for something like physics if not intelligence? You can see it quite plainly in even young kids some just get things quicker than others, or can grasp concepts that their peers simply can't, you see it even among siblings who share more or less identical up bringings.
    Some abilities are just inate and whereas they can definitely be honed and focused, you have to have the bare ability just in you somewhere from birth for that to happen. Same for all abilities, music, sport and so on, not just intelligence. If the processor isn't up to speed no amount of time spent tweaking the programming will make all that much difference. You could no more turn Wayne Rooney into Stephen Hawking than you could have Stephen Hawking playing up front for united (actually never mind, they could probably do with him at the moment:D)
    Does my 5 year old asking me 'why is the water falling to the bottom all the time' while she twirled a bottle around, some sort of apple falling moment? I explained gravity to her. She was 5. Not Newton.




  • I considered throwing an apple at her pmsl.




  • It seems clear enough to me, what is an aptitude for something like physics if not intelligence? You can see it quite plainly in even young kids some just get things quicker than others, or can grasp concepts that their peers simply can't, you see it even among siblings who share more or less identical up bringings.

    Some people learn differently to others and at different paces. And some people are immersed in certain things from an early age that others are not. If you read through Hawking's childhood, his family and his education its going to be drastically different than the early life Joey Essex had. The influence all that had on him and his way of thinking cannot be dismissed. As for identical upbringing, even with identical upbringing people will be different people with different experiences and a different perception of the world and different likes and dislikes.
    Some abilities are just inate and whereas they can definitely be honed and focused, you have to have the bare ability just in you somewhere from birth for that to happen. Same for all abilities, music, sport and so on, not just intelligence. If the processor isn't up to speed no amount of time spent tweaking the programming will make all that much difference. You could no more turn Wayne Rooney into Stephen Hawking than you could have Stephen Hawking playing up front for united (actually never mind, they could probably do with him at the moment:D)

    But are those abilities not innate for everyone with the difference being they are honed and focussed more in some than in others ? As well as aided in some due to their view of the problem and approach that would be learned in the early stages of development ? Joey Essex while seeming to be dumb still has all the faculties necessary to solve problems and draw conclusions. The reason he may not be able to do so on the same level as Stephen Hawking is because Stephen Hawking was raised differently and has spent a lifetime immersed in physics and mathematics.




  • srsly78 wrote: »
    It all comes down to the question: why do males even exist? The Y chromosome is pretty much junk, all it carries is info about sperm production.
    Regarding race: this is an even more incendiary topic.
    There's something a bit disturbing about the fact that calling an entire gender, half the population, little more than breeding fodder is less incendiary than racism. Only in the Anglophone World, I suppose...




  • Roger Penrose, Stephen Hawking's friend, colleague, collaborator and a mathematical physicist wrote in Road to Reality that he does not believe that most people have an innate ineptitude in relation to mathematics. And that aversion and ineptitude is likely caused by poor education and lack of confidence.
    Well I have an pretty serious lack of facility with maths and I had a good education and given my mum was an accountant and my dad an engineer you'd think I'd have the maths bases covered genetically. I still struggle with it. Hell even reading the time can be an issue for me if it's a digital display. I have to consciously think about it. I suspect if I was a child these days I'd be pegged as having dyscalculia. Joke is I could read to an 8 year old level before I started school.

    As for Penrose's take? I strongly suspect subjective thinking. He finds it easy, therefore... Common enough thinking even in the very bright. Plus lauded geniuses tend to be feted by the general public in matters outside their speciality and often believe this themselves. Hawkings a good example. He's made all sorts of pronouncements outside the field of physics and they're usually taken as read by the general public. When in fact he often has no more real clue than the bloke in the pub.

    As for intelligence being inheritable? It seems it is quite strongly so. Environment will change the potential of an individual and/or which way they apply that intelligence, but it's just as much if not more nature opposed to nurture.

    Few enough were innocent in the past, few enough are innocent in the present, we just don’t know why yet.



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  • There's something a bit disturbing about the fact that calling an entire gender, half the population, little more than breeding fodder is less incendiary than racism. Only in the Anglophone World, I suppose...

    You misinterpreted the post, read the link and it explains a theory as to why males exist. In the context of evolutionary biology everyone is breeding fodder, your genes don't care.

    Also, males do not just consist of the Y chromosome.




  • Wibbs wrote: »
    Well I have an pretty serious lack of facility with maths and I had a good education and given my mum was an accountant and my dad an engineer you'd think I'd have the maths bases covered genetically. I still struggle with it. Hell even reading the time can be an issue for me if it's a digital display. I have to consciously think about it. I suspect if I was a child these days I'd be pegged as having dyscalculia. Joke is I could read to an 8 year old level before I started school.

    As for Penrose's take? I strongly suspect subjective thinking. He finds it easy, therefore... Common enough thinking even in the very bright. Plus lauded geniuses tend to be feted by the general public in matters outside their speciality and often believe this themselves. Hawkings a good example. He's made all sorts of pronouncements outside the field of physics and they're usually taken as read by the general public. When in fact he often has no more real clue than the bloke in the pub.

    As for intelligence being inheritable? It seems it is quite strongly so. Environment will change the potential of an individual and/or which way they apply that intelligence, but it's just as much if not more nature opposed to nurture.

    Crying men




  • LiveIsLife wrote: »
    Taken from wiki:

    "The second hypothesis, the generally greater variability among men (compared to women) in tests of cognitive abilities,[30][31][32] leading to proportionally more males than females at both the lower and upper tails of the test score distributions, caused the most controversy."
    Wibbs wrote: »
    There does appear to be a higher variance among males though. Basically there are more males at the top end and more males on the bottom end of the curve, while the female IQ curve is more linear. At the very top end the ratio is 2 to 1 in favour of men.
    I would exercise caution when referring to IQ tests as THE MEASURE of intelligence. Depending upon how intelligence is defined, as well as how the IQ test was constructed and administered, there may be many important and substantial factors missed that may serve to confound what differences may exist between women and men; i.e., I am suggesting that we should exercise caution when interpreting the validity and reliability of such tests.




  • Black Swan wrote: »
    I would exercise caution when referring to IQ tests as THE MEASURE of intelligence. Depending upon how intelligence is defined, as well as how the IQ test was constructed and administered, there may be many important and substantial factors missed that may serve to confound what differences may exist between women and men; i.e., I am suggesting that we should exercise caution when interpreting the validity and reliability of such tests.

    Say it or don't.




  • Men are usually good at stating controversial findings when they have the stability of a wife behind them.




  • srsly78 wrote: »
    You misinterpreted the post, read the link and it explains a theory as to why males exist. In the context of evolutionary biology everyone is breeding fodder, your genes don't care.
    I didn't misinterpret your comment that race was "an even more incendiary topic" at all.

    You might not have intended it to come out like that, but ultimately it did, and indeed you're right, as LiveIsLife pointed out in his/her initial post, suggest what you did in relation to race and you'd likely be branded racist - as Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray discovered. Say it of men, and it's fine. It's something that you see a lot more of in the Anglophone World than elsewhere (where you realize this brainwashing exists due to the lack of it there).

    Anyhow, it's more of an observation and strictly speaking OT, so I'll leave it at that.




  • Doesn't give it credence to anyone but idiots.




  • Wibbs wrote: »
    Well I have an pretty serious lack of facility with maths and I had a good education and given my mum was an accountant and my dad an engineer you'd think I'd have the maths bases covered genetically. I still struggle with it. Hell even reading the time can be an issue for me if it's a digital display. I have to consciously think about it. I suspect if I was a child these days I'd be pegged as having dyscalculia. Joke is I could read to an 8 year old level before I started school.

    As for Penrose's take? I strongly suspect subjective thinking. He finds it easy, therefore... Common enough thinking even in the very bright. Plus lauded geniuses tend to be feted by the general public in matters outside their speciality and often believe this themselves. Hawkings a good example. He's made all sorts of pronouncements outside the field of physics and they're usually taken as read by the general public. When in fact he often has no more real clue than the bloke in the pub.

    I don't know I have some first hand experience of how Penrose sees it. I never "got" maths in school, dropped down from higher level in first year. Got by without any real understanding of it until I dropped out at 16. Always shied away from it and felt that there was no way I could do maths in third level as I just didn't get it. Yet when I went to college as a 30 year old mature student I found maths to be one of my best subjects. Like anything else I done I found the effort put into understanding it was worth more than any inherent ability to understand it. And while I was a bit slower on the uptake I did pick it up, remember it, understand it to a good degree and did well in exams. I think were I a child in a better education system I'd have developed a much better understanding of maths from an earlier age.




  • NipNip wrote: »
    Crying men
    NipNip wrote: »
    Men are usually good at stating controversial findings when they have the stability of a wife behind them.
    NipNip wrote: »
    Doesn't give it credence to anyone but idiots.
    MOD: NipNip this is the Humanities forum not AH. We are attempting to have a meaningful discussion of this topic. Please improve the content of your replies.


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  • Back to grown up conversation... Race and intelligence; correlation, yes - as I mooted already, physical and medical differences exist between races and the Bell Curve noted IQ differences based on ethnic background. However, causation is another matter; those same statistics showed that certain races were more likely to have better levels of education, especially in early childhood, and so environmental reasons need to be considered as the true reasons for such deviations.

    Same on a macro level. It cannot have escaped people's notice that any of sub-Saharan Africa barely made it as far as the iron age, and much of it didn't get that far. Aboriginal Australia never made it out of the stone age.

    Could this be due to inherent trends in intellect due to race? Maybe. On the other hand, climate, scarcity and so on are also important - necessity is the mother of invention, so if you don't need, why should you bother to invent?

    In short, perhaps there is a link between race and intellect (however we wish to define it), but it is clear that environment is also a major factor and either way there's no conclusive proof.


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