Sex Roles

, Volume 30, Issue 1–2, pp 81–92 | Cite as

Gender differences in variability in intellectual abilities: A cross-cultural perspective

  • Alan Feingold
Article

Abstract

A cross-cultural quantitative review of contemporary findings of gender differences in variability in verbal, mathematical, and spatial abilities was conducted to assess the generalizability of U.S. findings that (a) males are more variable than females in mathematical and spatial abilities, and (b) the sexes are equally variable in verbal ability. No consistent gender differences (variance ratios) were found across countries in any of the three broad ability domains. Instead, males were more variable than females in some nations and females were more variable than males in other nations. Thus, the well-established U.S. findings of consistently greater male variability in mathematical and spatial abilities were not invariant across cultures and nations.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Becker, B. J., & Hedges, L. V. (1984). Meta-analysis of cognitive gender differences: A comment on an analysis by Rosenthal and Rubin.Journal of Educational Psychology, 76 583–587.Google Scholar
  2. Benbow, C. P., & Stanley, J. C. (1980). Sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability ability: Fact or artifact?Science, 210 1262–1264.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Benbow, C. P., Stanley, J. C. (1983). Sex differences in mathematical reasoning ability: More facts.Science, 222 1029–1031.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Born, M. Ph., Bleichrodt, N., & Van Der Flier, H. (1987). Cross-cultural comparison of sex related differences on intelligence tests: A meta-analysis.Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 18 283–314.Google Scholar
  5. Buss, D. M. (1989). Sex differences in human mate preferences: Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures.Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12 1–49.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, J. (1977).Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences (rev. ed.). New York: Academic Press.Google Scholar
  7. Ellis, H. (1894).Man and woman. London: Walter Scott.Google Scholar
  8. Feingold, A. (1988). Cognitive gender differences are disappearing.American Psychologist, 43 95–103.Google Scholar
  9. Feingold, A. (1990). Gender differences in effects of physical attractiveness on romantic attraction: A comparison across five research paradigms.Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 59 981–993.Google Scholar
  10. Feingold, A. (1992a). Cumulation of variance ratios.Review of Educational Research, 62 433–434.Google Scholar
  11. Feingold, A. (1992b). Gender differences in mate selection preferences: A test of the parental investment model.Psychological Bulletin, 112 125–139.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Feingold, A. (1992c). Sex differences in variability in intellectual abilities: A new look at an old controversy.Review of Educational Research, 62 61–84.Google Scholar
  13. Feingold, A. (1992d). The greater male variability hypothesis: Science vs. politics.Review of Educational Research, 62 89–90.Google Scholar
  14. Feingold, A. (1993a). Cognitive gender differences: A developmental perspective.Sex Roles, 29 91–112.Google Scholar
  15. Feingold, A. (1993b). Joint effects of gender differences in central tendency and gender differences in variability.Review of Educational Research, 63 106–109.Google Scholar
  16. Harnisch, D. L., Steinkamp, M. W., Tsai, S.-L., & Walberg, H. J. (1986). Cross-national differences in mathematics attitude and achievement among seventeen-year-olds.International Journal of Educational Development, 6 233–244.Google Scholar
  17. Hedges, L. V., & Friedman, L. (1993). Gender differences in variability in intellectual abilities: A reanalysis of Feingold's results.Review of Educational Research, 63 94–105.Google Scholar
  18. Hedges, L. V., & Olkin, I. (1985).Statistical methods for meta-analysis. Orlando, FL; Academic Press.Google Scholar
  19. Hollingworth, L. S. (1914). Variability as related to sex differences in achievement: A critique.American Journal of Sociology, 19 510–530.Google Scholar
  20. Jensen, A. R. (1971). The race x sex x ability interaction. In R. Cancro (Ed.),Intelligence: Genetic and environmental influences. New York: Grune and Stratton.Google Scholar
  21. Johnson, D. D. (1973–1974). Sex differences in reading across cultures.Reading Research Quarterly, 1 67–86.Google Scholar
  22. Kissane, B. V. (1986). Selection of mathematically talented students.Educational Studies in Mathematics, 17 221–241.Google Scholar
  23. Linn, M. C., & Hyde, J. S. (1989, November). Gender, mathematics, and science.Educational Researcher, 18 17–27.Google Scholar
  24. Maccoby, E. E., & Jacklin, C. N. (1974).The psychology of sex differences. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  25. McNemar, Q., & Terman, L. M. (1936). Sex differences in variational tendency.Genetic Psychology Monographs, 18 1–65.Google Scholar
  26. Noddings, N. (1992). Variability: A pernicious hypothesis.Review of Educational Research, 62 85–88.Google Scholar
  27. Pearson, K. (1897).Chances of death. (Vol. 1). London: Arnold.Google Scholar
  28. Rosenthal, R. (1984).Meta-analytic procedures for social research. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Shields, S. A. (1975). Functionalism, Darwinism, and the psychology of women: A study in social myth.American Psychologist, 30 739–754.Google Scholar
  30. Stanley, J. C., Huang, J., & Zu, X. (1986). SAT-M scores of highly selected students in Shangahai tested when less than 13 years old.College Board Review, 140 10–29.Google Scholar
  31. Steinkamp, M. W., Harnsich, D. L., Walberg, H. J., & Tsai, S. (1985). Cross-national gender differences in mathematics attitude and achievement among 13-year-olds.Journal of Mathematical Behavior, 4 259–277.Google Scholar
  32. Thorndike, E. L. (1914).Educational Psychology (Vol. 3). New York: Teachers College, Columbia University.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alan Feingold
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryYale UniversityNew HavenUSA

Personalised recommendations