Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Women Have Higher IQs Than Men, Says Science

Another from Claire, the intern:

Recent research indicates that girls are better AND smarter than boys since, for the first time in over a century, women have scored higher than men on IQ testing. In the past, women scored significantly lower than men (as much as 5% less!); however, the tables have turned and world-renowned expert on IQ testing, James Flynn, agrees.

Flynn believes that a big factor in women’s increased IQ scores is their extreme ability to multitask. He speculates that “the demands put on women’s brains when they juggle work and family may have helped boost their scores.” Another possibility in the surge of women’s IQ scores is that women have more opportunities in modern times to reach their higher potential for intelligence as they work more and more outside the home. In an interview with The Sunday Times of London, he shares his feelings about women starting to excel more, saying: “The full effect of modernity on women is only just emerging.”

So the next time a man belittles you in any way, ladies, just remember that “women are smarter than men,” and science says so.

[via Yahoo Shine]

51 comments… add one
  • avatar

    Trixy Minx July 18, 2012, 12:28 pm

    Suck it boys!!

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  • Budj

    Budj July 18, 2012, 12:58 pm

    I find this belittling.

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    • Lili

      Lili July 18, 2012, 1:00 pm

      If it makes you feel better, I think you’re smarter than me Dr. Budj 😉

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    • Leroy

      Leroy July 18, 2012, 3:40 pm

      I think that’s their intention.

      But Flynn’s not actually stating that women are smarter than men. That’s not what his findings convey. They’re being misrepresented in the popular press, and here.

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  • bittergaymark

    bittergaymark July 18, 2012, 12:59 pm

    Whatever. Clearly the subject pool did not many DW LWs…

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    • avatar

      rachel July 18, 2012, 1:16 pm

      Hey – someone’s gotta bring the average down.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant July 18, 2012, 1:21 pm

      I will say, there is a difference between book smart and street smart. I have no idea what credentials the LW’s have, but I’ve known many academics who are blindingly smart, but have ZERO common sense. Honestly, I don’t know how some of them stay alive.

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      • katie

        katie July 18, 2012, 1:24 pm

        ha- this is so true about people.

        we need to create some kind of test that measures you equally in both respects… like, a good-at-life test. i would love to see that. lol

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      • avatar

        Trixy Minx July 18, 2012, 1:52 pm

        Wks I would love to see a test like that!

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      • avatar

        Taylor July 19, 2012, 9:05 am

        Life is that test.

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      • avatar

        jlyfsh July 18, 2012, 1:29 pm

        i agree with this. we were having a conversation about this the other day at work. someone couldn’t figure out how to light their gas stove without power (they are from dc and lost power a few weeks ago during the storms. they threw out all the food in their fridge because they couldn’t cook it. meaning neither one of them could figure out how to light the gas stove without electricity). the first question someone asked was, do they have phds? the answer was yes, haha.

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    • landygirl

      landygirl July 18, 2012, 1:25 pm

      Bazinga!

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  • avatar

    ele4phant July 18, 2012, 1:13 pm

    Hasn’t it long been known that the IQ test is kind of a junk measure for intelligence?

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    • avatar

      Painted lady July 18, 2012, 1:30 pm

      It depends on the IQ test. There’s one, the Wechsler, or the WAIS, that takes several days to complete, if done correctly, and requires someone trained to administer to an individual. Obviously it’s way more expensive and troublesome than the various forms that just require scantron sheets and test booklets, so it’s not used very often (usually as a diagnostic for brain damage or learning disabilities). But it’s really good and comprehensive and accounts for fatigue and distraction and other things.

      My first thought anytime I hear “IQ Test,” my first thought is “Which one?”

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 18, 2012, 1:33 pm

        Isn’t there still the issue of cultural relativity? Maybe I’m confusing this with the SAT, but I thought this was a criticism of IQ tests as well.

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      • avatar

        Painted lady July 18, 2012, 3:47 pm

        Yeah, that’s definitely true for all standardized tests. One of the examples that gets used a lot is analogies – like black:white::tall:short or something. In theory it’s good – shows critical thinking, deftness with language, etc, but then you have to think about how people are primed to think about certain words. So, like pour:concrete::weave:_______ and you have to fill in the blank. For a kid who comes from a culture where hair extensions are common, they’re likely to think about cosmetology terms, while a kid who comes from a culture where it isn’t so common is going to think about fabric or baskets, and if the test creator comes from a different culture than one of those kids, that kid is going to get the question “wrong” without knowing why.

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      • avatar

        Painted lady July 18, 2012, 3:52 pm

        Also, just to be clear, I’m actually in complete agreement with you about this. The only thing that the vast majority of IQ tests have proven is that you’re really good at taking tests. Which is useful, obviously, but the way we think of intelligence now has definitely evolved from the days when these tests were invented – if you were smart you did well in school, learned and completed things quickly, didn’t have any behavior issues, and liked academics.

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    • avatar

      applescruff July 18, 2012, 5:57 pm

      The WAIS is up to version IV, and has become more culturally sensitive. For example, there used to be a question in the information section asking who Martin Luther King was. African Americans would answer, Dr. Martin Luther King jr’s dad. It’s a correct answer, but was scored as wrong on the exam. That’s since been changed. IQ tests like the WAIS or the Stanford-Binet measure different kinds of intelligence, everything from math and vocabulary to spotting patterns in a design and recreating a block design. They’re culturally loaded still, but there are ways to score them and administer them that attempt to minimize those effects. The standardized tests kids take in schools tend to be worse in terms of cultural factors. Like Painted Lady said, they predict how good you are at taking tests.

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 18, 2012, 6:12 pm

        Which is really useful to know, because when we leave school the majority of us will get jobs where we have to fill in bubbled forms all day.

        The whole critical thinking, trouble shooting, interpersonal skills that enhance cooperating and collaborating with others, never going to need that stuff again…

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      • avatar

        ele4phant July 18, 2012, 6:19 pm

        BTW – I totally have never taken an IQ test beyond the free internet ones, so I have no idea what I’m taking about. These long form ones may be very interactive and encompass far more than bubble feeling.

        Still, taking tests are kinda useless, in my opinion. They’re not really a real world experience, at all.

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      • avatar

        applescruffs July 18, 2012, 7:29 pm

        The WAIS takes about 4 hours to give, does have some critical thinking stuff on it. It tries to get at verbal IQ, which is more school based, and performance IQ, which is supposed to be more latent intelligence. But no bubbled forms on this one. I’m talking about the WAIS because that’s what I have experience with, but there are others that are reasonably well developed. Think of it more as general mental ability than achievement, or aptitude.

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  • landygirl

    landygirl July 18, 2012, 1:29 pm

    I think that women have just started coming into their own after centuries of being suppressed and devalued by the opposite gender. We still have a long way to go.

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    • avatar

      gay analyst July 18, 2012, 3:45 pm

      What’s the next step? 100% female primary school teachers instead of >80%?

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      • avatar

        Lydia July 18, 2012, 4:57 pm

        No, I would say the next step would be a re-evaluation of what we consider ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ traits, so that a trait like caring can be a valued trait in men as well as women, and the male/female ratio in professions (not just primary school teachers) can approach 50/50.

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      • avatar

        gay analyst July 18, 2012, 6:37 pm

        You’ve missed my point entirely.

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      • theattack

        theattack July 18, 2012, 8:45 pm

        I understood your comment in a way that was very similar to how Lydia understood it. Perhaps a further explanation would help.

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      • avatar

        gay analyst July 19, 2012, 10:14 am

        Lydia didn’t show any understanding of my comment, which tells me that your “similar understanding” was more like projection of “other stuff I want to happen” into the exchange.

        Why in the world would I raise the issue of primary education when we’re talking about IQ testing? It’s a mystery!

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  • avatar

    Erin July 18, 2012, 1:57 pm

    Duh.

    I kid (mostly) but there are many times I feel like I am speaking a foreign language when trying to explain something to a man. Much of that, I suspect, is gender bias – men like to be smarter/stronger/better, and they have trouble accepting knowledge or input from females.

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    • Budj

      Budj July 18, 2012, 2:48 pm

      thanks for the generalization.

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      • avatar

        gay analyst July 18, 2012, 3:43 pm

        She probably tried to explain something to a man in the same way that she made this post: all sorts of little asides about herself and employing reasoning based on false but unstated premises, leaving the male listener who expected and desired a one sentence answer with a field of brush to clear away. That is, if she ever got to the point at all, or if he managed not to check out before the 6th instance of “I” in the abortive semi-explanation.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl July 18, 2012, 5:41 pm

        Don’t you have any other place to troll?

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      • avatar

        gay analyst July 18, 2012, 6:36 pm

        Your only stated argument is that prior IQ testing showing the same or superior results for men is a consequence of women of being “suppressed and devalued” by men, and the current results inspire Erin to reflect on how men don’t understand her explanations of things due to insecurities and gender bias. The extrapolation of your worldview into the future is increasing (and totally natural, of course) superiority of women for all time as male “suppress[ion] and devalu[ation]” is abolished, and as a result, Erin will not be able to find a single man who can understand her explanations. Only this time, it will be because she’s just so much smarter than all the guys, ’cause they’ll understand that women are just better, and there won’t be any gender bias.

        I’m pretty sure putting down some carpet in the echo chamber doesn’t constitute trolling.

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      • landygirl

        landygirl July 18, 2012, 9:54 pm

        tl;dr.

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      • avatar

        gay analyst July 19, 2012, 10:10 am

        No, you read it. When it made you a little hot under the collar, you posted this flip response in a transparent attempt to a) get some “you go girl!” echo chamber validation and b) avoid having to respond with any real material.

        Who knows how long she sat there with a panicked grimace on her face before banging out her five characters? Three hours?

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest July 18, 2012, 3:48 pm

      I think you are at fault for hanging out with a lot of dumb guys then.

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      • bittergaymark

        bittergaymark July 19, 2012, 4:02 am

        Women hanging out with dumb guys DOES really seem to be the pattern around here.

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    • avatar

      ele4phant July 18, 2012, 3:48 pm

      Do men and women, stereotypically speaking, communicate differently? Yeah, I think they sometimes they do.

      Does that men cannot handle accepting knowledge or input from females? I don’t think so, I think many men – particularly younger men – are happy to accept input from women. I just think they talk past one another sometimes.

      And that’s very generally speaking. Many men and women communicate just fine with one another.

      And there’s some individuals who can’t communicate with anyone well, same gender or not.

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  • Kristina

    Kristina July 18, 2012, 3:34 pm

    I generally find IQ tests to be fairly inaccurate to measure how “smart” someone is, but they do provide a pretty accurate assessment of the logic and reasoning skills that are tested. Measuring emotional intelligence would give very different results for women I think.

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    • avatar

      lets_be_honest July 18, 2012, 3:49 pm

      Someone did poorly on their IQ test…

      I’m kidding!

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  • avatar

    Addie Pray July 18, 2012, 4:07 pm

    I’ve known this for a LONG time. But I’m a woman so that’s probably why.

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  • Kristina

    Kristina July 18, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Haha, I’ve been able to practice a lot over time because my dad has all these IQ kits for his work, so I don’t think it means much when I can keep improving.

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    • avatar

      applescruff July 18, 2012, 6:00 pm

      IQ is actually not a stable trait. Which is kind of cool, when you think about it. Kids who have been victims of a crappy education system who are able to somehow get into decent schools show a lot of improvement on IQ scores. They also improve when there are high expectations. Practice effects improve them, too. 😉

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  • CatsMeow

    CatsMeow July 18, 2012, 4:41 pm

    So? Women scored higher on IQ tests than men? How are we supposed to interpret it?

    It doesn’t mean women are naturally smarter than men, and I’m upset if that’s how it’s being reported. It wouldn’t fly these days if we reported that science “proves” that men are smarter than women (as has been attempted MANy many times over the years), so why is it “ok” to say that “girls are better AND smarter than boys”? Really? Why are we constantly trying to pit the genders against each other? Nothing good comes out of it. Ever.

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  • avatar

    applescruff July 18, 2012, 6:03 pm

    There’s something called the Flynn Effect (that’s the Flynn quoted above) which means that IQ scores improve from generation to generation. Meaning, my IQ score is going to be about 5-10 points higher than my parents’, which will be 5-10 points higher than their parents. No one really knows why this is, but it could be more people going to school, better nutrition, smaller families, or any number of other things. There’s probably a similar reason for this, and depending on their sample for the study, I’m guessing it’s education – more women than men are getting bachelors, masters, and now doctorate degrees. That’s the kind of thing that will show up on an IQ test.

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    • Leroy

      Leroy July 18, 2012, 6:42 pm

      Flynn apprently thinks it’s ‘multitasking’ which is probably why he’d chosen to study results on Raven matrices. They’ve been shown to respond to training w/ Dual N-Back games, which involves a sort of memory ‘multitasking’. But they’re not general IQ tests.

      He’s also got a book coming out, which I suspect is why he’s allowing the press to report these findings as ‘women are now smarter than men’. But if you read his extended remarks, it’s apparent that this isn’t what he means, or has found. From what I can gather, he’s discovered that women have recently scored 1/2 to 1 point higher on these tests in 3 countries out of 7 or more that he studied. In the majority of countries, men scored higher and the historical spread in scores has diminished. Frankly the spread on these, or more general IQ tests, isn’t significant enough to claim that either sex is smarter.

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      • avatar

        applescruffs July 18, 2012, 7:30 pm

        Agreed.

        You a psychologist too, Leroy?

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      • Leroy

        Leroy July 18, 2012, 8:51 pm

        No I’m just very pedantic.

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      • avatar

        applescruff July 19, 2012, 10:52 am

        🙂

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  • avatar

    MarieDC July 19, 2012, 1:19 am

    Yeah…imagine a guy saying “men are smarter than women.science says so”. See how dumb that sounds? Saying women are smarter because science says so is no different nor less sexist.

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    • avatar

      Brandy July 19, 2012, 9:47 am

      I agree! This kind of reverse-sexism makes me crazy. It’s not okay when men do it, and it’s not okay when women do it, either. I don’t have a son, but if I did, I wouldn’t want him growing up with these negative messages any more than I would want my daughter to grow up hearing that boys are smarter than her. Do all of the women who joke about how great this is not have any sons or nephews in their lives? Do they not have any brothers or a father they love? What about husbands or boyfriends? Good luck having a healthy relationship with a man if you are gleefully certain that you are so much smarter than him.

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  • avatar

    stilgar666 July 19, 2012, 12:01 pm

    So now I can claim to be just a stupid male? I shall embrace my new found ditziness.

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