Sex Roles

, Volume 67, Issue 3–4, pp 247–250 | Cite as

Exploring the Science Behind Sex and Gender Differences in Cognitive Abilities

Sex Differences in Cognitive Abilities, Fourth Edition. By Diane F. Halpern, New York, Psychology Press, 2012. 456 pp. $62.50 (paperback). ISBN: 978-1848729414 $120.00 (hardback). ISBN: 978-1848729407
  • David ReillyEmail author
Book Review

It has been over four decades since Maccoby and Jacklin (1974) published their landmark text, The Psychology of Sex Differences, which was the first to review in a systematic way differences between males and females in thought and behavior.

Considerable progress has been made since their narrative review both in the body of knowledge of psychology and the statistical techniques we use to assess experimental findings, such as meta-analysis. The very notion of gender differences is still controversial though. Some theorists argue passionately either that they do not exist, or are too small to be of practical impact (Fine 2010; Hyde 2005), while others argue for innate biological differences between males and females (Kimura 2000). There is a vast body of literature to evaluate and huge educational, occupational and social implications to the answers to such questions. To whom should we look for a critical and objective analysis of the body of research studying the issue of cognitive...


  1. Eccles, J. S. (1987). Gender roles and women's achievement-related decisions. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 11, 135–172. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.1987.tb00781.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Else-Quest, N. M., Hyde, J. S., & Linn, M. C. (2010). Cross-national patterns of gender differences in mathematics: a meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 136, 103–127. doi: 10.1037/a0018053 PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Fine, C. (2010). Delusions of gender: How our minds, society, and neurosexism create difference. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  4. Guiso, L., Monte, F., Sapienza, P., & Zingales, L. (2008). Culture, gender, and math. Science, 320, 1164–1165. doi: 10.1126/science.1154094.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Halpern, D. F. (2000). Sex differences in cognitive abilities (3rd ed.). Mahwah: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  6. Halpern, D. F., & Tan, U. (2001). Stereotypes and steroids: Using a psychobiosocial model to understand cognitive sex differences. Brain and Cognition, 45, 392–414. doi: 10.1006/brcg.2001.1287.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Halpern, D. F., Benbow, C. P., Geary, D. C., Gur, R. C., Hyde, J. S., & Gernsbacher, M. A. (2007). The science of sex differences in science and mathematics. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 8, 1–51. doi: 10.1111/j.1529-1006.2007.00032.x.Google Scholar
  8. Halpern, D. F., Eliot, L., Bigler, R. S., Fabes, R. A., Hanish, L. D., Hyde, J. S., et al. (2011). The pseudoscience of single-sex schooling. Science, 333, 1706–1707. doi: 10.1126/science.1205031.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hyde, J. S. (2005). The gender similarities hypothesis. American Psychologist, 60, 581–592. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.60.6.581.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hyde, J. S., & Lindberg, S. M. (2007). Facts and assumptions about the nature of gender differences and the implications for gender equity. In S. S. Klein (Ed.), Handbook for achieving gender equity through education (2nd ed., pp. 19–32). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Google Scholar
  11. Kimura, D. (2000). Sex and cognition. Cambridge: MIT.Google Scholar
  12. Lippa, R. A. (2001). On deconstructing and reconstructing Masculinity-Femininity. Journal of Research in Personality, 35, 168–207. doi: 10.1006/jrpe.2000.2307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Maccoby, E. E., & Jacklin, C. N. (1974). The psychology of sex differences. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Muehlenhard, C., & Peterson, Z. (2011). Distinguishing between sex and gender: History, current conceptualizations, and implications. Sex Roles, 64, 791–803. doi: 10.1007/s11199-011-9932-5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Steele, C. M. (1997). A threat in the air: How stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance. American Psychologist, 52, 613–629. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.52.6.613.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Unger, R. K. (1979). Towards a redefinition of sex and gender. American Psychologist, 34, 1085–1094. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.34.11.1085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Griffith UniversityGold CoastAustralia

Personalised recommendations