Monday, February 16, 2009

Men and Women Are the Same in the Middle, But Men Are More Extreme

Susan Pinker, in The Sexual Paradox, reports that men's and women's IQ curves have the same middle, but the tails of the men's curve are longer - on both sides. There are more men at the highest levels, and more at the lowest. This is how both of these things can be true: men and women have the same average intelligence, and there are many more men at the highest levels of math achievement.

There are other reasons why there would be more men at the top levels of public achievement, especially in power hierarchies. Pinker treats them in the book, and I will talk about them in the next few posts. But it helps to keep some perspective on what else this means. There are also fewer women at the bottom levels of public achievement. Pinker quotes the ever-colorful Camille Paglia: “There is no female Mozart because there is no female Jack the Ripper.”

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