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I've been reminiscing about the past, and I remember one incident that had a huge impact on me:

I used to do math contests, where you went in and took a test and then they had an awards ceremony where they called the top ten on stage and then gave out the awards from starting from 10th place. I'd always be fine when taking the test, but when it came time for the awards ceremony I'd get really really nervous, because I always felt like if I didn't do well, my parent's wouldn't love me...

Anyways, since I was so nervous, I'd never pay attention to the other contestants, I'd always be focused on listening to the announcer call out the names. After one particular time (which I succeeded in attaining 1st place :D), I was walking off-stage when this woman came up to me. She congratulated me and told me how nice it was to see a girl up there on stage and winning, and I realized that I had been the only girl in the top ten. I had never really thought about it before, but from then on out, I paid more attention, and I noticed the ratio was always in favor of guys. Where I went to college, the ratio was 2:1 guys to girls.

Since I don't believe that guys are inherently smarter than girls, especially since scientist have not found any significant differences in the male/female brains that would suggest such, I wondered why it is that females are often under-represented in intellectual circles. (Here at BrainDen, however, we have definitely proven that girls can be just as smart as guys ;P)

One of my theories is this:

Society pressures females to put extra time and energy into superficial concerns and stresses, such as makeup, clothing, dieting, etc, which occupies their minds and makes it difficult to focus on larger issues and more intellectual problems, whereas males have much less of these stresses and can spend more of their thought ability and focus on thinking about intellectual problems.

The fact that I've never really cared about said things may be what has given me an advantage compared to some of my fellow females ;P.

I'm wondering what other BrainDenizens' takes on the issue are...

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I think you hit the nail on the head B))

I'll have an issue to share later, I'm sure. Just let me make it through the day and I'm sure I will have several by tonight :P

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I don't think it's so much to do with pressures to think about other stuff, boys have those too. But because intellectual pursuits are more traditionally the domain of males, men who choose to do that will not feel like the odd one out. Teenagers tend to have a strong drive to fit in. I can see how being the only girl doing something could be uncomfortable.

Also, I don't think it can be denied that women's brains are different from men's, and I think this is also partly responsible. Not to say that women are less smart. As I was so keen to point out in the Mensa topic, there's definitely more than one kind of smart. My maths teacher at secondary school was very much of the opinion that women naturally tend not to be as good at mathematics as men. She felt it was because men have a better ability to visualise. This may result from the natural role of men being a more physically active one, so men come slightly better equipped for thinking three-dimensionally. That's just one opinion of course.

In my experience women tend to be better organisers and are consequently better at multitasking. This comes at a price. Multitasking requires that you do not focus entirely on one thing, and therefore makes it harder to solve problems which require that level of focus. I have the kind of focus that enables me to forget to pick my boy up from nursery because I started thinking about something and a couple of hours of time just disappeared. That kind of thing seems more common among men.

Of course I am generalising and there are always exceptions.

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One of my theories is this:

Society pressures females to put extra time and energy into superficial concerns and stresses, such as makeup, clothing, dieting, etc, which occupies their minds and makes it difficult to focus on larger issues and more intellectual problems, whereas males have much less of these stresses and can spend more of their thought ability and focus on thinking about intellectual problems.

The fact that I've never really cared about said things may be what has given me an advantage compared to some of my fellow females ;P.

Makeup, clothing, dieting - no distraction there :lol: (I don't even own any makeup, wait... I'm sure I have a misplaced stiffened nail polish somewhere... :huh: )

In my experience women tend to be better organisers and are consequently better at multitasking. This comes at a price. Multitasking requires that you do not focus entirely on one thing, and therefore makes it harder to solve problems which require that level of focus. I have the kind of focus that enables me to forget to pick my boy up from nursery because I started thinking about something and a couple of hours of time just disappeared. That kind of thing seems more common among men.

Of course I am generalising and there are always exceptions.

I have to agree, male and female brain evolved differently, and I recently read that women are better managers for the reasons mentioned by octopuppy!

The best case scenario is to have both man and women in a team... Two different ways of perceiving merged together! It doesn't get better than that! :D

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I agree with Octopuppy. There's no doubt that our brains are wired differently. This occurrs early-on within the womb when the Y chromosome kicks in and does it's thing by generating the "testosterone wash" that breaks down the barrier between the right & left sides of the brain and changes the cell structure in the hypothalumus. Men may not be any "smarter" per-say, but because of the way their brains are wired they are more equipped to excell in certain areas (like math and spacial skills) more than women.

I think for girls, besides brain differences I already mentioned, because they are naturally better nurturers and have an innate "mothering" sense this occupies their thinking more than the kind of "drive" that men have for success. For me personally, I was very successful early in my career...climbing the ladder rather quickly...but this was due only to my capabilities, NOT my drive. I gladly abandoned my career when it was time to start a family and I don't feel any less important as a human. What I'm trying to say is that most women are more interested in "relational" type careers due to their nurturing instict whereas men, like O-Pup said, are more "visual" and lean toward careers like Engineering, Math, and the sciences.

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So far I agree with all of you. Just recently I realized my father is a bit of a chauvinist. the realization shocked me and made me realize how different he and I are. I've always been close to my mom, so I suppose I developed a different way of viewing women a long time ago. In high school that changed. I became a typical high school male and that continued into my first 2 years of college. I didn't lie dating women that were smarter than me. It made me feel inferior and often times those that were attempted to do such. Thankfully I matured and now I'm turning more women away because they aren't intelligent. I love a woman who works, and doesn't expect the guy to pay for everything. I still pay for things, but i like it to be unexpected. I also have to be mentally stimulated, and only women who have wit and intelligence can do so now. it the ladies on here, young and old-er :P who actually attracted me to BD. It gave me hope that there are smart women out there. :D

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I had always been a proponent of nurture over nature, meaning outside stimuli played a larger role in development of individuals than "pre-wired" responses or reactions did. After the birth of my fraternal twins (one boy and one girl) I've had to reevaluate my thinking. From a very early age my daughter has tended toward more stereotypical "female" behavior while my son has tended toward the opposite. My daughter is more outwardly affectionate, loves giving hugs, carries around stuffed animals, and likes to put on other peoples shoes and walk around. My son on the other hand is not as outwardly affectionate, likes to play with cars (or anything with wheels). He tries to figure out how things work, while my daughter will just accept that they do. All of their toys are in one playroom and my wife and I have done our best to not influence their actions by reinforcing one behavior over another. In short we've tried hard to treat them equally in all aspects.

So I'm left wondering how much of our behavior is carried over from our parents in our DNA and is not a result of our environment.

In response to Yoruichi-san's question, studies have shown that there is little difference between males and females with respect to intellect throughout most of adolescence; only during the teen-age years when peer pressure starts to exert itself do any differences appear. By differences, I mean only that enrolment in certain types of programs change. A female may not attend the advanced math class because her friends don't think it's cool or she may not pursue a particular career because of discriminatory hiring practices and can see no future in it.

It seems these types or trends are changing. There are more women in the science and math fields today than ever before. As the old guard is rotated out I think some of these perceptions will evolve, but as with anything it will take time.

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I easily blame the ratio on society. All throughout school I was in top-level math and no class was even close to Y-San's 2:1. I would say more like 4:1. Now if I think about high-school, it was totally acceptable to be in the 'cool' group and get high grades for guys. But thinking about the girls in my HS, all the 'cool' ones were nowhere near the high-level classes, with slight exception, but it really was almost entirely. By 'cool' I mean went to the hot parties, popular, HS blah blah. I just remember though that as a guy, it was seen as really cool to be able to pull off high grades and party at the same time. Girls did not have that societal influence at all.

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Thank you for sharing your opinions, I hope more ppl will do so as well, some thoughts I have:

I don't think it's so much to do with pressures to think about other stuff, boys have those too. But because intellectual pursuits are more traditionally the domain of males, men who choose to do that will not feel like the odd one out. Teenagers tend to have a strong drive to fit in. I can see how being the only girl doing something could be uncomfortable.

Also, I don't think it can be denied that women's brains are different from men's, and I think this is also partly responsible. Not to say that women are less smart. As I was so keen to point out in the Mensa topic, there's definitely more than one kind of smart. My maths teacher at secondary school was very much of the opinion that women naturally tend not to be as good at mathematics as men. She felt it was because men have a better ability to visualise. This may result from the natural role of men being a more physically active one, so men come slightly better equipped for thinking three-dimensionally. That's just one opinion of course.

In my experience women tend to be better organisers and are consequently better at multitasking. This comes at a price. Multitasking requires that you do not focus entirely on one thing, and therefore makes it harder to solve problems which require that level of focus. I have the kind of focus that enables me to forget to pick my boy up from nursery because I started thinking about something and a couple of hours of time just disappeared. That kind of thing seems more common among men.

Of course I am generalising and there are always exceptions.

I agree that we are different, we definitely have different hormones (which are brain chemicals) ;P, but I have yet to see a study that shows that these differences actually effect our intelligence, whether measured by IQ or otherwise...

And your math teacher never met me...:P

But I agree the ability to visualize helps with math, that's why I tested out of geometry and love Calculus :D, but I haven't seen anything that proves that that ability is related to our DNA or brain structure. It could be attributed to women having too much of their brain power used up on social stresses.

And I didn't say men don't have social stresses, just that women tend to have MORE social stresses, much more...they have the same stresses of social relationships but add to that the stresses of maintaining society's standard of beauty...

I had always been a proponent of nurture over nature, meaning outside stimuli played a larger role in development of individuals than "pre-wired" responses or reactions did. After the birth of my fraternal twins (one boy and one girl) I've had to reevaluate my thinking. From a very early age my daughter has tended toward more stereotypical "female" behavior while my son has tended toward the opposite. My daughter is more outwardly affectionate, loves giving hugs, carries around stuffed animals, and likes to put on other peoples shoes and walk around. My son on the other hand is not as outwardly affectionate, likes to play with cars (or anything with wheels). He tries to figure out how things work, while my daughter will just accept that they do. All of their toys are in one playroom and my wife and I have done our best to not influence their actions by reinforcing one behavior over another. In short we've tried hard to treat them equally in all aspects.

So I'm left wondering how much of our behavior is carried over from our parents in our DNA and is not a result of our environment.

In response to Yoruichi-san's question, studies have shown that there is little difference between males and females with respect to intellect throughout most of adolescence; only during the teen-age years when peer pressure starts to exert itself do any differences appear. By differences, I mean only that enrolment in certain types of programs change. A female may not attend the advanced math class because her friends don't think it's cool or she may not pursue a particular career because of discriminatory hiring practices and can see no future in it.

It seems these types or trends are changing. There are more women in the science and math fields today than ever before. As the old guard is rotated out I think some of these perceptions will evolve, but as with anything it will take time.

That's interesting. While I'm sure you and your wife tried your best to treat your children equally, unless they were kept in a bubble ;P, there were probably social influences that you couldn't control, such as television and of course, peer pressure...i.e. if your son's peers are playing with cars or he sees boys playing with cars on TV, he may think be influenced by that. Also, does "stereotypically feminine" or "stereotypically masculine" behaviors change someone's level of intelligence? Does being outwardly affectionate make one less likely to do well in math than not being outwardly affectionate?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that while I have no doubt there are inherent differences in males and females, none of these inherent differences seem to explain why females tend to be under-represented in intellectual circles, so I believe, as some others, that it has to do with society and culture.

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well I think this says a lot...

my brother and I were given 5k each when born and had it put into stocks. My grandfather

played the market till we wanted the money for college. My bro had 5x as much as me.

He played my bros money with higher risk because I was a girl and girls are taken care of by men.

Good thing my mom had none of that. She pushed me very hard. She pushed my brother as well.

But many parents dont push their kids equally.

So many people you run into in life will push you one way or the other. But I think it ultimately comes down to

your parents. My bro is an archeologist and I am an artist...when I can.

My partners father also drove her hard. He said there was nothing she couldnt do. He wanted her or be a

doctor or lawyer.

That was in Puerto Rico. So you never know. Her brother is the failure.

Edited by crazypainter
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That's interesting. While I'm sure you and your wife tried your best to treat your children equally, unless they were kept in a bubble ;P, there were probably social influences that you couldn't control, such as television and of course, peer pressure...i.e. if your son's peers are playing with cars or he sees boys playing with cars on TV, he may think be influenced by that. Also, does "stereotypically feminine" or "stereotypically masculine" behaviors change someone's level of intelligence? Does being outwardly affectionate make one less likely to do well in math than not being outwardly affectionate?

I guess what I'm trying to say is that while I have no doubt there are inherent differences in males and females, none of these inherent differences seem to explain why females tend to be under-represented in intellectual circles, so I believe, as some others, that it has to do with society and culture.

Well, the kids are still very young (less then a year and a half), so society and TV haven't gotten to them yet, fortunately. :) Our daughter is more advanced then our son at this point. She has a wider vocabulary and is the first to do just about anything (climb on the kitchen table, for instance).

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Well, the kids are still very young (less then a year and a half), so society and TV haven't gotten to them yet, fortunately. :) Our daughter is more advanced then our son at this point. She has a wider vocabulary and is the first to do just about anything (climb on the kitchen table, for instance).

Awesome :D.

Actually, as I think more about what you and Octopuppy said, I'm thinking that guys doing better in math and girls being better at tasking may have to do with the fact that boys are encouraged to play with, like, Legos, and girls are encouraged to play with dolls and tea sets...(guess which one I played with? ;P)

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(guess which one I played with? ;P)

i'm guessing a telescope or a Bunsen burner ;)

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I agree that we are different, we definitely have different hormones (which are brain chemicals) ;P, but I have yet to see a study that shows that these differences actually effect our intelligence, whether measured by IQ or otherwise...
Is it not self-evident? If male and female skills lie in different areas, the results of testing will depend on the focus of the tests. And since most IQ tests tend to focus on the areas where men excel, it is hardly surprising that comparative studies of male and female IQ often tend to come out in favour of men. Which says a lot more about the inadequacies of linear models of intelligence than it does about male and female intelligence comparatively.

And your math teacher never met me... :P
You might be the exception!

And I didn't say men don't have social stresses, just that women tend to have MORE social stresses, much more...they have the same stresses of social relationships but add to that the stresses of maintaining society's standard of beauty...
Honestly, when you're as beautiful as I am the pressure is enormous, gender notwithstanding. But I deal with it.

Actually, as I think more about what you and Octopuppy said, I'm thinking that guys doing better in math and girls being better at tasking may have to do with the fact that boys are encouraged to play with, like, Legos, and girls are encouraged to play with dolls and tea sets...(guess which one I played with? ;P)
I have a little boy but unfortunately am not in the professor's fortunate position of having twins to experiment on, but I can only say that my experiences agree totally with his. You might think that little children are persuaded to play with gender-specific toys by outside influence, but I expect you'd have a hard time finding a parent who agrees with you. I have never tried to influence my boy one way or the other. He simply has this in-built fascination with anything on wheels, or things that do things generally. And that's been the case since he was old enough to physically play with anything (I doubt that babies have any real sense of gender awareness before the age of 2 anyway). I haven't personally experienced the female equivalent but he does seem to exert a degree of personal choice that is stereotypically male.

Not that I'm dismissing your observations either. Of course society influences people as well, and gender stereotyping and social pressures have a lot to do with later choices in life. I'm just saying that these things are not completely arbitrary, there are genuine differences at the root of them. All the same I think it's very important that people get equal opportunities in life as a matter of principle. Even if you are just an exception to the general rule of how men and women are, it makes you no less entitled to the same opportunities as any man. Crazypainter's post just goes to show that this isn't always the case. Not only is it grossly unfair that her brother should have a larger college fund than her, but I find it a quite bizarre comment on human nature that the brother's fund was put into high-risk investments and hers into low risk. As if girls have to play it safe and boys have to be go-getters or something, and the same principles apply to their fund investments. Crazy.

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Is it not self-evident? If male and female skills lie in different areas, the results of testing will depend on the focus of the tests. And since most IQ tests tend to focus on the areas where men excel, it is hardly surprising that comparative studies of male and female IQ often tend to come out in favour of men. Which says a lot more about the inadequacies of linear models of intelligence than it does about male and female intelligence comparatively.

No, I don't think it is not self-evident. I never said I thought the male/female differences caused differences in particular skills that would be tested for in IQ tests or any other tests. I said I thought we had different hormones, i.e. brain chemicals, and as we all know ;P, those mostly cause different emotional states, but I have yet to see evidence that this causes different scores on IQ tests or any other sort of intelligence tests, or directly cause women to be under-represented in intellectual circles. And when you say they tend to focus on areas where men excel, my question is why do men excel in these areas? Show me science that suggests that this has to do with the differences in male and female brains, not what seems to me to be circular reasoning that men do better in areas that men do better in...;P

And parents do set an example for their children, even without outside influences. Even if the parents don't tell the children how they should react, the children still see what their male/female parent does and are influenced by that.

Edit: And I know I'm an exception, but the question is why am I an exception? Is my brain somehow built more like a male's than a female's? Why? I have female DNA, so that can't be it...it only takes one counter-example to prove a theory false...;P

Edited by Yoruichi-san
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i'm guessing a telescope or a Bunsen burner ;)

More like cold plasmas and particle accelerators ;P...jk...but my dad did occasionally bring home a superconductor or two from work :D.

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No, I don't think it is not self-evident. I never said I thought the male/female differences caused differences in particular skills that would be tested for in IQ tests or any other tests. I said I thought we had different hormones, i.e. brain chemicals, and as we all know ;P, those mostly cause different emotional states, but I have yet to see evidence that this causes different scores on IQ tests or any other sort of intelligence tests, or directly cause women to be under-represented in intellectual circles. And when you say they tend to focus on areas where men excel, my question is why do men excel in these areas? Show me science that suggests that this has to do with the differences in male and female brains, not what seems to me to be circular reasoning that men do better in areas that men do better in...;P
My reasoning is also based on what I would expect to see based on the natural roles of men and women. I'm very much of the opinion that we are what evolution has made us. Based on that alone it seems natural that our mental capabilities should be slightly different because we have to meet different demands. For example I would expect men to be naturally better equipped to deal with competition for resources, hazardous situations, and problem solving and planning of a large-scale, abstract or spacial nature. I would expect women to be better at coping in nurturing situations, organisation and memory, verbal and other interpersonal skills (not forgetting women's intuition), and to have a higher degree of fine-tuning in their physical skills. I would expect women to be more grounded and generally exercise more common sense, with men being more creative in their ideas. But I would also expect such differences to be minimal and variances within either gender to be large enough to create significant overlap in all areas.

These expectations are of course both shaped and confirmed by my personal observation. Several of them are also well established by scientific research. Proving that these tendencies are a matter of nature, not nurture, cannot easily be done, especially considering the large amount of overlap between capabilities in either gender. But it would be highly surprising if at least some of these properties were not innate gender differences. Male and female bodies have a great variety of differences, often subtle but with undeniable gender tendencies, which are present in all areas of the body. It would be most peculiar if our brains were exempt from this. I had a quick Google search for "male female brain differences" and the (admittedly mostly 3rd-hand) information brought up would suggest a general consensus of scientific opinion that there are statistically significant differences, and where the function of those parts of the brain is well understood, those physical differences tie in with known functional differences. Given that both physical and functional differences are well established and corresponding, I don't think I'd be going out on a limb too much to imply a relationship between the two.

And parents do set an example for their children, even without outside influences. Even if the parents don't tell the children how they should react, the children still see what their male/female parent does and are influenced by that.
True, but we are talking about children too young to be aware of their own gender. How do they know which parent to copy?

Edit: And I know I'm an exception, but the question is why am I an exception? Is my brain somehow built more like a male's than a female's? Why? I have female DNA, so that can't be it...it only takes one counter-example to prove a theory false...;P
Not if the theory allows exceptions B)) . Nobody's suggesting that there isn't a huge degree of overlap between male and female capabilities. Perhaps you are just a statistical anomaly (could be worse, you could be normal). Or maybe nurture has overcome your natural tendencies. The whole nature vs nurture question is one without answers really, I'm just making the case for nature having a hand in it somewhere.
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My reasoning is also based on what I would expect to see based on the natural roles of men and women. I'm very much of the opinion that we are what evolution has made us. Based on that alone it seems natural that our mental capabilities should be slightly different because we have to meet different demands. For example I would expect men to be naturally better equipped to deal with competition for resources, hazardous situations, and problem solving and planning of a large-scale, abstract or spacial nature. I would expect women to be better at coping in nurturing situations, organisation and memory, verbal and other interpersonal skills (not forgetting women's intuition), and to have a higher degree of fine-tuning in their physical skills. I would expect women to be more grounded and generally exercise more common sense, with men being more creative in their ideas. But I would also expect such differences to be minimal and variances within either gender to be large enough to create significant overlap in all areas.

These expectations are of course both shaped and confirmed by my personal observation. Several of them are also well established by scientific research. Proving that these tendencies are a matter of nature, not nurture, cannot easily be done, especially considering the large amount of overlap between capabilities in either gender. But it would be highly surprising if at least some of these properties were not innate gender differences. Male and female bodies have a great variety of differences, often subtle but with undeniable gender tendencies, which are present in all areas of the body. It would be most peculiar if our brains were exempt from this. I had a quick Google search for "male female brain differences" and the (admittedly mostly 3rd-hand) information brought up would suggest a general consensus of scientific opinion that there are statistically significant differences, and where the function of those parts of the brain is well understood, those physical differences tie in with known functional differences. Given that both physical and functional differences are well established and corresponding, I don't think I'd be going out on a limb too much to imply a relationship between the two.

True, but we are talking about children too young to be aware of their own gender. How do they know which parent to copy?

Not if the theory allows exceptions B)) . Nobody's suggesting that there isn't a huge degree of overlap between male and female capabilities. Perhaps you are just a statistical anomaly (could be worse, you could be normal). Or maybe nurture has overcome your natural tendencies. The whole nature vs nurture question is one without answers really, I'm just making the case for nature having a hand in it somewhere.

Yes, I actually agree with most of what you said. I definitely agree that there are differences b/w males and females physiologically, but I have seen no evidence that this causes differences in "intelligence", or the capability for intelligence.

And I apologize if I sounded harsh, but my point was that if "intelligence" were truly coded in our DNA somehow differently for men and women, like on the Y-chromosome or whatever, then it should apply to all men and women, with the exception of a few genetic "mutants". I.e., if men are genetically coded to be better at math, then men should always be better at math than women. However, the fact that there are women who are just as good as men, and, as Prof. Templeton pointed out earlier, the number of women in traditionally men-dominated fields keeps increasing, proves that the differences can't be in coded into our DNA.

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Define "intelligence" as you keep saying it, Ysan. What does the term actually mean? What do you think it means? Therein lies your ambiguity in this case... what kinds of intelligence are you talking about? There are so many different kinds, and they all fit together. There's no way to measure someone's "intelligence", though they can be compared in certain ways

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Define "intelligence" as you keep saying it, Ysan. What does the term actually mean? What do you think it means? Therein lies your ambiguity in this case... what kinds of intelligence are you talking about? There are so many different kinds, and they all fit together. There's no way to measure someone's "intelligence", though they can be compared in certain ways

The title and the OP. "Intelligence" as in females being under-represented in intellectual circles, i.e. fewer famous female physicists, fewer females who do well in intellectual competitions, etc.

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And I apologize if I sounded harsh, but my point was that if "intelligence" were truly coded in our DNA somehow differently for men and women, like on the Y-chromosome or whatever, then it should apply to all men and women, with the exception of a few genetic "mutants".
Oh I'm sure you're more of an anomaly than a mutant. :D

I.e., if men are genetically coded to be better at math, then men should always be better at math than women. However, the fact that there are women who are just as good as men, and, as Prof. Templeton pointed out earlier, the number of women in traditionally men-dominated fields keeps increasing, proves that the differences can't be in coded into our DNA.
There are many women-men pairs where the woman is taller. Does that mean there is no genetic tendency for men to be taller than women? I think that the differences are small and have been exaggerated by social factors. By redressing the social factors we move closer to equality in more fields. But it doesn't mean that men's and women's brains do not carry different genetic trends.

The title and the OP. "Intelligence" as in females being under-represented in intellectual circles, i.e. fewer famous female physicists, fewer females who do well in intellectual competitions, etc.
If as I'm suggesting, female intelligence is fundamentally different from male intelligence, then such representation would depend on social factors and also on whether the qualifying criteria favour the kind of intelligence possessed by either gender. Particularly in competitions and tests, there is a tendency nowadays to adjust the criteria so that both genders perform equally. So intelligence is what you make it. The same may apply to intellectual circles. In the field of physics, however, I feel that male brains have an edge. But it's an arbitrary choice. If you took the field of literature as another example, women are possibly better equipped on average. Not to say that there aren't many great male authors and female physicists, but if I am correct your impressions of whether equality is achieved will depend largely on the qualifying criteria you use.
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If as I'm suggesting, female intelligence is fundamentally different from male intelligence, then such representation would depend on social factors and also on whether the qualifying criteria favour the kind of intelligence possessed by either gender. Particularly in competitions and tests, there is a tendency nowadays to adjust the criteria so that both genders perform equally. So intelligence is what you make it. The same may apply to intellectual circles.

For most of them women I know, they find these "adjustments" demeaning. especially in the course of academics, and for some, athletics. Then again i do tend to surround myself with highly intelligent people. In my High School, the Valedictorian, as well as the runner up all happened to be females. I've yet to see a male achieve such a spot, although I'm sure it has occurred elsewhere.

In the field of physics, however, I feel that male brains have an edge. But it's an arbitrary choice. If you took the field of literature as another example, women are possibly better equipped on average. Not to say that there aren't many great male authors and female physicists, but if I am correct your impressions of whether equality is achieved will depend largely on the qualifying criteria you use.

I'm also going to have to disagree with you on the physics aspect. A friend of my is a physics major. He is 3 years away from getting his masters. His girlfriend, who is a freshman at the same school, can outdo him in just about all aspects academically. Both are highly intelligent. He was the third runner up for Valedictorian :) SO you are right on the fact that there are many great female physicists. I just don't agree that one brain or the other has the edge academically. the only difference I think there is in the basic genetic programming has to do with primal instincts. Men tend to be more the hunter or bread-winner if you will, whereas women tend to be the nurturer, although in today's society those primal instincts are being pushed far back into the subconscious as women have realized that they are just as equally competent in the workforce as men. Hmm, come to think of it, everywhere I've worked my boss has been a woman. And most of the time they are pretty darn cute. :P

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I'm also going to have to disagree with you on the physics aspect. A friend of my is a physics major. He is 3 years away from getting his masters. His girlfriend, who is a freshman at the same school, can outdo him in just about all aspects academically. Both are highly intelligent. He was the third runner up for Valedictorian :) SO you are right on the fact that there are many great female physicists.
From browsing a few articles on mental differences it seems pretty well-established that males are better at spacial and 3-dimensional problems. That, plus what I mentioned earlier about men possibly being more focused problem solvers, is what leads me to believe that men may have an innate advantage in physics. It's only my opinion though, and the significance of it probably does not go beyond an overall statistical difference.
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From browsing a few articles on mental differences it seems pretty well-established that males are better at spacial and 3-dimensional problems. That, plus what I mentioned earlier about men possibly being more focused problem solvers, is what leads me to believe that men may have an innate advantage in physics. It's only my opinion though, and the significance of it probably does not go beyond an overall statistical difference.

Ah, statistic. One of my favorite subjects in college, yet my least favorite too. I've always had a problem with facts or suggestion being based off a small control. I mean sure thousands or hundreds of thousands could be observed, polled, etc, but in the end I dislike those statistics because for those who aer not open-minded enough to realize that they are merely an observation is creates unwanted and often demeaning stereotypes for the group that is at the 'negative' side of that statistic.

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From browsing a few articles on mental differences it seems pretty well-established that males are better at spacial and 3-dimensional problems. That, plus what I mentioned earlier about men possibly being more focused problem solvers, is what leads me to believe that men may have an innate advantage in physics. It's only my opinion though, and the significance of it probably does not go beyond an overall statistical difference.

Okay, yes, I agree that males tend to do better than females at these tasks and there are more famous male physicists than females, etc. In fact, that is kind of the whole point of this thread. Females are under-represented in these areas. My question is WHY? Why females in general are worse off at 3-dimensional problems, etc. I think it is due to social pressures, not to fundamental differences. I.e. boys are encouraged to play with Legos and girls are encouraged to play with dollhouses by culture and society, so guys get a better handle on spacial problems. I myself played with Legos, and I have been at least on-par with my male associates all my life ;P.

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Okay, yes, I agree that males tend to do better than females at these tasks and there are more famous male physicists than females, etc. In fact, that is kind of the whole point of this thread. Females are under-represented in these areas. My question is WHY? Why females in general are worse off at 3-dimensional problems, etc. I think it is due to social pressures, not to fundamental differences. I.e. boys are encouraged to play with Legos and girls are encouraged to play with dollhouses by culture and society, so guys get a better handle on spacial problems. I myself played with Legos, and I have been at least on-par with my male associates all my life ;P.

i play with....erm i mean played with LEGOs and I wont go anywhere near physics. I've always been more artistic and psychological as opposed to a math and science guy...

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