Noted authority says women now have higher IQ than men

by Bob Yirka weblog
The IQs of a large enough population are calculated so that they conform to a normal distribution with a mean of 100 and a standard deviation of 15. Image: Wikipedia.

(Medical Xpress) -- Psychologist James Flynn, who resides in New Zealand and is considered one of the foremost experts on intelligence testing, has aroused people’s attention around the world by proclaiming that women are now smarter than men, at least according to a standardized IQ test. He’s been making the rounds, speaking to various reporters in hopes of spurring sales of a new book he’s written.

Flynn, who has been researching IQ level data covering the past century, says that most everyone in developed countries has been getting smarter over the years, about three points more on average; which is significant in itself of course. He points out that when IQ tests first came on the scene, tended to score well below men, oftentimes as much as five points lower. Since that time however, women have been growing smarter at a faster rate than men and now average a point higher. He bases his assertions on the Raven's Progressive Matrices , which has been given to subjects ranging from ten years of age to thirty, though in this recent go round he’s restricted his research to just those fifteen to eighteen years old, presumably the age at which full intelligence has developed, but prior to being degraded by environmental factors.

There is much debate surrounding just how accurate tests are and whether they truly measure how smart a person is; after all, some research has found that some people can raise their scores if paid to do so. Typically, those who score high tend to believe in the results while those that don’t suggest it doesn’t measure street smarts or other forms of brilliance, such as those who excel in the arts. In any case, such tests are based on a score of 100 as signifying the average person’s intelligence level.

Flynn tested 500 males and 500 females from a wide variety of so-called advanced countries such as Australia, , South Africa and Argentina and found women scored a half to a whole point higher in all of them. The only exception was Israel, where men still scored a couple of points higher than women. And while he can’t say for sure why women seem to be growing smarter than , he theorizes that it’s likely due to the roles women now play in society, as compared to earlier times. Nowadays, he notes, women are expected to multi-task, to get jobs and go to work while still raising children. He believes that has caused women’s brains to adjust, making them smarter.

More information:
via ABC, The Australian.

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Eikka
3 / 5 (4) Jul 18, 2012
Isn't there some controversy about the IQ test themselves, and how they've changed to favor women by reducing the number of math and spatial awareness elements in the tests?
NotParker
3 / 5 (4) Jul 18, 2012
1) In the past the bell curve for men and women have been different. Men traditionally have more genius and more imbeciles. Women tended to cluster more in the middle, but the average wasn't that different.

2) The press release/story fails to mention which group had the highest scores and lowest. It just mentions the average.
Doug_Huffman
4.7 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2012
Remember IQ standard deviation is 15, the minimum difference that makes any difference. Remember Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve. Shall we now heed their information, now that it's too late.

http://www.delibe....sml.pdf
frmnt94
5 / 5 (4) Jul 18, 2012
Since when have scientists presumed that intelligence peaks in the teenage years? Why is it international news that teenage girls, who are known to mature more quickly than boys, have scored very slightly higher than boys on a test of mental ability, and why is this slight disparity reported as if it has anything to do with men and women?
NotParker
3 / 5 (4) Jul 18, 2012
frmnt94, excellent point. If the IQ test is normally given to 10-30 year olds and you only give it to 15-18 year olds it makes one wonder.

" so-called advanced countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina"

I wouldn't call South Africa "advanced" and Argentina is iffy.

http://en.wikiped...lity.png

http://en.wikiped..._Nations
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2012
street smarts or other forms of brilliance

Street smarts is considered a form of brilliance?
NotParker
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2012
"Flynn has not yet published the results of his study, saving that for a book he will publish in September. But he told ABC News that he collected data from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Estonia and Argentina on scores on a standard IQ test, called the Raven test. Each country tested at least 500 men and 500 women, most between the ages of 15 and 18, Flynn said.

In all of those samples, women are the equal of men, perhaps scoring a half point or a point higher, Flynn said."

Not yet published?

Perhaps?

This "study" is even worse than the AGW ones.
SteveL
5 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2012
As societies advance responsibilities and the experiences that people are exposed to change. This should be expected to reflect in an IQ score as the test becomes more relevant to the test taker.

I noticed that the provided graph is apparently just an example and not specific to this study. If you do a search for "IQ graph" it's the first one that popped up for me.
Doug_Huffman
5 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2012
@SteveL, "I noticed that the provided graph is apparently just an example and not specific to this study." What other graph would you expect? This is really a generic normal distribution with mean=100 and SD=15 just as IQ distribution is defined.
SteveL
5 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2012
street smarts or other forms of brilliance

Street smarts is considered a form of brilliance?
I've known people that wouldn't do very well on an IQ test that were brilliant in other areas. As an example a guy I used to know in the mid 80's who was a "bit slow" by common standards, yet he could tell you the significant stats of every American college or professional football, basketball, baseball or wrestling team or player. Not exactly something that would be on an IQ test. Another alternative is what used to be called "horse sense", where people can do exceptionally well in conditions that wouldn't be well represented in an IQ test.
sirchick
5 / 5 (3) Jul 18, 2012
When i was given IQ tests in school (once at start of each year) i didn't even bother to take them seriously...i think this would apply to alot of teenage boys.

I knew they were not important to me getting a job - course now if i took one id be interested to see what my score is. Back then I didn't give a damn.

Mind you i equally hated science - then at about 19 i think it was i suddenly found science fascinating and now love the subject.

My point here is how many teenage boys took the test seriously enough to get an accurate mark to their IQ.. because its same for general exams boy just don't mature thus they don't try.

If we told boys: were doing this test to see if you really are smarter than girls i bet alot of them would suddenly do their best - when their ego's are on the line.
SteveL
5 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2012
@SteveL, "I noticed that the provided graph is apparently just an example and not specific to this study." What other graph would you expect? This is really a generic normal distribution with mean=100 and SD=15 just as IQ distribution is defined.
It would have been useful if a graph representing the results of the study had been provided, rather than just some generic graph that simply takes up space. I would have liked to see how this study of 1000 data points compared to the millions of data points represented by publically available graphs.
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2012
It would have been useful if a graph representing the results of the study

Those aren't available. From the ABC link in the article:
Flynn has not yet published the results of his study, saving that for a book he will publish in September

Tangent2
not rated yet Jul 18, 2012
Hes been making the rounds, speaking to various reporters in hopes of spurring sales of a new book hes written.


Yup, that explains it. This guy brings trolling to a whole new level. He is not getting this information out to the world for the purpose of science, he is trying to get his sales up.
Doug_Huffman
5 / 5 (1) Jul 18, 2012
Again @SteveL, what do you think Flynn's IQ frequency distribution will look like, with n=1000?

I'm not a statistician but doubt so small a sample as n=1000 makes differences of VAR=5 (cited in the article above) significant.

Perhaps in preparation for reading Flynn's yet-to-be released book, one might read particularly Appendix 1 'Statistics for People Who Are Sure They Can't Learn Statistics' of The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray (1994, The Free Press, NY, 0-02-914673-9). Flynn, James and Flynn, effect are mentioned on 12 pages.

On gender, Herrnstein and Murray say, p.275 boxed, 'Jews, Latinos, and Gender', "When it comes to gender, the consistent story has been that men and women have nearly identical mean IQs but that men have a broader distribution. [ ... ] The larger variation among men means that there are more men than women at either extreme of the IQ distribution."
gwrede
5 / 5 (2) Jul 18, 2012
Hey, I used to think that my laptop has a problem every once in a while with this site. I couldn't rate comments.

Now I suspect it's the site itself. This many comments, and not a single rating?? Must be that others have a problem, too??

------

And the funniest thing: Once I had submitted this comment, the rating stars appeared for all the comments!!!!

I'd urge the Webmaster to take a look.
dtxx
5 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2012
"Remember IQ standard deviation is 15, the minimum difference that makes any difference."

Doug, you really need to revisit the concept of standard deviation.

"I'm not a statistician but doubt so small a sample as n=1000 makes differences of VAR=5 (cited in the article above) significant."

For a margin of error of 1 IQ at 95% certainty for a sample with a std dev of 15, you would need a minimum of 865 participants. So, a study with 1000 is valid.
sirchick
5 / 5 (1) Jul 19, 2012
Also 500 men and women is just far too small of a sample for the 6 billion people on earth.

Make the sample 1 million (which can easily be done with education system setting up a small test at the start or end of the year.) And we might have a better picture.
Eikka
5 / 5 (1) Jul 21, 2012
As an example a guy I used to know in the mid 80's who was a "bit slow" by common standards, yet he could tell you the significant stats of every American college or professional football, basketball, baseball or wrestling team or player. Not exactly something that would be on an IQ test.


That's because he was probably autistic. At least the behaviour matches the description; autists aren't more intelligent than others - they just prefer structured and repetitive tasks due to their particular neurological problems, which means they do things like learn a phonebook or remember football stats, because they obsessively repeat the same things over and over again.
mrlewish
1 / 5 (1) Jul 22, 2012
By the examples of some of the posters on these forums I have no doubt that this is true.
SteveL
1 / 5 (1) Jul 22, 2012
As an example a guy I used to know in the mid 80's who was a "bit slow" by common standards, yet he could tell you the significant stats of every American college or professional football, basketball, baseball or wrestling team or player. Not exactly something that would be on an IQ test.

That's because he was probably autistic. At least the behaviour matches the description; autists aren't more intelligent than others - they just prefer structured and repetitive tasks due to their particular neurological problems, which means they do things like learn a phonebook or remember football stats, because they obsessively repeat the same things over and over again.
Oh, I don't doubt that, if only mildly.

I have just usually been a bit uncomfortable with how IQ is used to evaluate people. In the world of some people, those of us with a high IQ might not fare very well. So, using IQ to determine capacity or fitness is only relative generally, not exclusively.
DarkHorse66
not rated yet Jul 23, 2012
@gwrede.Medical express has been having this problem for a while now.I usually get the stars &the 'quote' button to appear by clicking on the 'off' button in the filter.This also causes a partial reload/refresh of the page,that updates any new comments as well.I also use the same 'off' button to force my comment to upload immediately when phys.org is taking too long.Always works every time.For the first time in I-don't-know-when, a med expr. page actually loaded correctly for me. Wow. I should point out too, that it would have been more likely that your version of the browser you use could have been playing up, than a faulty laptop.One version that I tried gave me the stars, but half hidden by the lines.When I tried out a newer,different browser, it actually told me that the site was at fault.Always eliminate that possibility first.An alternate browser is cheaper than an IT technician or new parts :)BestRegards,DH66
PS We don't have direct access to our accounts here either.That sucks!
antialias_physorg
5 / 5 (1) Jul 23, 2012
So, using IQ to determine capacity or fitness is only relative generally, not exclusively.

I think no one is claiming IQ is the sole determining factor of a person's aptitude in all circumstances (least of all those who do studies on IQ). It sometimes may seem that way because as humans we're so damned proud of being the 'only intelligent species' and that 'evolution supposedly goes in the direction of more intelligence' (implicitly stating that we are the 'crown' of evolution).

But seriously: Dinosaurs managed to be around orders of magnitude longer than us without developing significant intelligence.

Intelligence is one (of many) niches like speed or strength or claws or much offspring. It's not the best or the one that is worth most.

Just one of many.

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