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

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.

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Correspondence to Alan Feingold.

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I would like to thank Robert Linn for providing me with the British norms for the Differential Aptitude Tests and Julian Stanley for his comments on a draft of this article.

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Feingold, A. Gender differences in variability in intellectual abilities: A cross-cultural perspective. Sex Roles 30, 81–92 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01420741

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Keywords

  • Gender Difference
  • Social Psychology
  • Variance Ratio
  • Spatial Ability
  • Verbal Ability