Report on Intelligence and link to Gender

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In my report I am going to talk about intelligence: defining the word intelligence, IQ testing and theorists work on intelligence, if there is any evidence linked with gender differences in intelligence. I will include potential factors that may affect gender differences in intelligence for instance environmental and biological factors. The methods I will use to get evidence for this report are as follows; I will use books on what theorists findings are on this subject, use the internet and journals. The purpose of this study is to find out, if there are any potential differences between gender, and relating this to intelligence. Encarta dictionary definition of intelligence 'is the ability to learn facts and skills and apply them'. Deary's (2001, p.17) definition of intelligence 'is a very general mental capability that, among other things, involves the ability to reason, plan , solve problems, think abstractly, comprehend complex ideas, learn quickly and learn from experience'. Galton's hereditary genius is to do with the different levels of intelligence measured by genetic factors. Galton thought that higher intelligence was being passed down to children. Day, Macaskill, & Maltby (2007 p.258) state that 'intelligent people show the ability to respond to the large range of information gained through their senses'. So the 5 senses of the human body are vital such as smell, taste, hearing, sight and touch because this will determine how intelligent a person may be, if they do not use their senses correctly, the person will have less intelligence than those who can for instance, a person does not know the difference between sweet and salty. A baby's taste and smell buds are very good because, the baby will know when it is time for dinner by using their smell sense. Babies use taste buds well because when my brother was younger he would prefer to eat the sweet food rather than the salt food, it would take him longer to eat the salty food, on the other hand when eating the sweet food it won't take as long as the salt food. Cattell's mental test is to do with measuring a person's intelligence through hearing and weight these experiments were carried out using the psychometric model. Problems with this experiment Chamorro - premuzic (2007, p. 67) examined this and suggested that ' thus, most of the variables he measured were more "elemental" than "mental" , and referred to very basic cognitive processes that are now known to be related to intelligence'. From this comment you can see that the experiment he did was more on the essential side of things such as how well child can hear and not based on mental skills such as numeracy, problems solving or literacy. The IQ test was developed by two French scientists, Alfred Binet and Theodore Simon, the purpose of the test was to assess children at school so that unintelligent children or children with behavioural difficulties could receive adequate and appropriate education. IQ testing is to do with measuring your intelligence for example comprehension, problem solving and reasoning skills. Criticisms of IQ testing are as follows they do not accurately measure intelligence, and everyone has different strengths and weaknesses in different areas of intelligence, such as someone could be good at problem solving, but have a weakness in reasoning skills and another person could be good at reasoning skills and not very good on problem solving. Howard Gardner (multiple intelligence theory) he put together eight different intelligence tests which were Linguistic, Logical-mathematical, Spatial, Bodily-kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal and Naturalist. Criticism of the Theory like many theories surrounding intelligence, Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences is controversial and widely criticised. In particular, there is doubt over his lack observed data - many feel that the 8 'intelligences' are simply alternative names for specific talents or even personality types.


I have used books, the internet and journals to collect my data. This method of researching is called secondary research. Secondary research is the use of material, which has been researched by someone else. The different research methods for secondary research are as follows: technology based and case studies. Technology based research is to do with researching from the computer to get your information, which has a lot of benefits such as the internet provides online libraries; e-books, journals and encyclopaedias. The main electronic databases I have used for my research were as follows Psycinfo, Psychology & Behavioural Sciences Collection and British ED index. The key read was based on, intelligence and gender differences and how the search found a number of journals, but some were irrelevant, to what I was looking for. You can download information off the Internet but make sure it is copyright free. Search engines help you through the mass of information on the Internet two most popular search engines are yahoo and google etc; also on the internet you can search for newspaper articles. Case studies published by other researchers can be used as secondary basis of data. There is a lot of ways you can use them such as identify differences and discuss comparisons.

I did not use primary research because this is to do with carrying out your own research. The different research methods for primary research are interviews, experiments, questionnaires and observations etc. I didn't use this method because I didn't have enough time to do this if I did I would have done questionnaires to get my findings.

Literature review

There has been a lot of work done on intelligence and how this is linked to gender differences. Alan Feingold (1988) examined sex differences for spelling, verbal reasoning, numerical ability, spatial relationship and language and many more. Another person who studied this was Larry Hedges and Amy Nowell (1995), who looked at reading comprehension, vocabulary, mathematics, science and spatial ability (which is to do with the ability to remember things by looking at objects and remembering them). Maccoby and Jacklin (1974) suggested that men on average do better on tests of spatial ability than women do. Supporting this (Feingold, 1988; Hedges & Nowell, 1995) who have done studies on spatial tests have proven this hypothesis. In contrast (Feingold, 1988; Hedges & Nowell, 1995) have similarities in their experiments for example they both tested numeracy skills and literacy skills. On the other hand women do better on reading comprehension and vocabulary than men do. APA report state that 'some verbal tasks show substantial mean differences favouring females. These include synonym generation and verbal fluency (e.g. naming words that start with a given letter), with effect size ranging from d= 0.5 to 1.2 (Gordon & Lee, 1986; Hines 1990)'. Males have larger brains than females and brain size is positively correlated with intelligence. Among children up to the age of around 14 yr the sex differences are smaller because girls mature earlier than boys. Work done by Lubinski and Humphreys (1990) found that the standard of deviation for males to be 7 percent larger than for females. It has also been hypothesised that men's higher IQ score may be direct consequence of their larger brain sizes, a claim that has been backed up by consistent evidence of correlations in the region of .30 between brain size and IQ scores ( Rushton & Ackney 1996). Macintosh (2007, p. 184) states that ' the critics would have been better advised to question whether one can make sensible inferences about differences in IQ between groups from evidence of their differences in the brain plus evidence of a within-group correlation between brain size and IQ'. Environmental factor affecting intelligence environmental factors play a large role in determining IQ in certain situations. Malnutrition correlates with lower IQ, suggesting that proper nutrition in childhood is critical for cognitive development. (Cole, 2000:26) Even before children go to school their parents will treat a boy and girl very different. Even in society throughout history this has occurred. A lot of research has gone into this; your gender is an issue from the minute you are born. Automatically society will say how a girl will behave and how a boy will behave. If it is a boy, oh he's like that because he's a boy and boys always take longer to grasp it. The idea that intelligence and personality are largely inherited has important educational implications. Environmental factors, e.g. family experiences, upbringing and schooling play a major role. (Chamorro-Premuzic, 2008:99). Biological factor affecting intelligence are as follows brain size, brain functioning and testosterone. Testosterone is to do with males hormones these are substances that travel around the human body to effect physiological activity, such as growth and metabolism Maltby et al (2007, p.360).

Results or findings

The figure below is from Hines (2003) and shows the magnitudes of some well-known sex differences in human behaviour compared to the magnitude of the sex difference in height.

This graph shows that men do well in 3-D rotation 0.8 deviation units, maths problem 0.3 deviation units, maths concept 0.1 deviation units which not much because the effect size is small. On the other hand this graph shows that verbal fluency is low in boys than girls because d is a negative number, which shows -0.3 on the graph.

This table shows the gap in 1989 was just 6% but 10yrs later it had increased to 10%. It is suggested by S. Ball (2008) that this gap is an overall statistic and not subject specific he suggests that in 2004 the deviations of this gap was just 1% and that in some subjects boys achieve better results than girls therefore it is not valid to say that all boys or all girls achieve less in Gcse levels


The important issues that I have found are that boys have bigger brain sizes than girls, which is linked to better IQ test scores for boys than girls. Another issue that I found is that boys tend to do better on spatial skills; they find mathematics and science more interesting to learn about. But on the other hand girls to better on verbal, comprehension and vocabulary skills than boys do. The importance of this study was to find out; if there were any differences between genders in intelligence also I was interested in finding this out so I undertook my research report on this subject. During the process of gathering the information, it was very interesting to find out that men have bigger brains than women, which gives them better IQ score than women.

Conclusions and recommendations

The purpose of this study is to find out, if there are any potential differences between gender, and relating this to intelligence. From doing my research in this field, I have found that there is not much difference between male and females and theorists have backed this statement up for many years. Neisser 1996 state that 'most standard tests of intelligence have been constructed so that there are no overall score differences between females and males'. The main issues that affect intelligence in gender: Boys do better on spatial tests than girls; in contrast to this girls do better in verbal, comprehension and vocabulary skills. Brain size of males is bigger than females brain size which results in men getting better IQ scores than women. If I carry out this study again, I would make improvements to the research I have done, by doing my own research in this field to see what results I get from doing this, I can do this by carrying out questionnaires on IQ. Another way I could improve my research is asking people to take the IQ test. With these results I can compare them to one another, to find out if there are any potential differences.