Another “Brain Sex” Theory Bites The Dust

September 6, 2011

Finally, the cause of sex differences in spatial abilities is found: It’s caused by female-hatred in male-supremacist cultures. No surprise to women, big surprise to genderists and other male-supremacists who cling to the sexist “Brain Sex” theory as if it was the Rock of Gibraltar. The way white-supremacists used to cling to the “Negroid Brain” theories of yesteryear.

From Live Science:

“At least one notable gender gap in abilities between men and women may be due in part to culture, a new study finds.

According to the research, women in cultures where men are in charge score lower than their male counterparts on a test that measures the ability to rotate objects in the mind’s eye. But in communities where women are at the forefront, the gender gap disappears.

Many studies have found that women are generally worse at this task, called spatial ability, than men. Some, like former Harvard president Lawrence Summers, have suggested that such innate abilities might be the reason that women are underrepresented in science and math careers. Summers drew fire in 2005 for suggesting as much during a conference on work force diversification.

The Karbi and the Khasi

The gender gap in spatial abilities shows up across cultures, but little is known about how much of spatial abilities are really inborn and how much are shaped by culture. That nature-nurture schism is important in debates like the one Summers sparked, because if the difference is cultural, it suggests that discrimination and stereotypes might be to blame for the lack of women in high-level math and science positions.

To find out, study author Moshe Hoffman, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego’s Rady School of Management, travelled to Northern India to visit two very traditional tribes.

One tribe, the Karbi, is patrilineal, meaning that men own most property and inheritance always goes to the oldest son. A second tribe, the Khasi, is matrilineal. The youngest daughter inherits the property in Khasi villages and men are forbidden to own land.

The advantage of going to rural India to study these two tribes is that they’re biologically and geographically very similar, Hoffman said.

“We have this beautiful control group where they live literally right next door,” Hoffman told LiveScience. “These villages are kind of interspersed with each other, and the tribes diverged genetically only a few hundred years ago.”

Hoffman and an interpreter went to eight villages, some Khasi and some Karbi, and recruited 1,279 volunteers to complete a four-piece puzzle of a horse while being timed. All of the volunteers got a day’s wages just for showing up; to motivate them, Hoffman offered another fifth of a day’s wages if they completed the puzzle in less than 30 seconds.

“In some of these villages, almost the entire village came up,” Hoffman said. “Most of these people work in the field all day long, which is pretty strenuous work, so if you were a mother you would come up with one baby strapped to your belly and one more grabbing on to your leg.”

Culture and gender

Across both tribes and genders, people took about 40 seconds, on average, to complete the puzzle. In the patrilineal Karbi tribe, men completed the puzzle 36 percent faster than women. But in the matrilineal Khasi tribe, women and men were equally good at their task.

What that shows, Hoffman said, is that “even while holding biology constant, there is an effect of culture on the gender differences in spatial abilities.”


Read the whole article HERE.




9 Responses to “Another “Brain Sex” Theory Bites The Dust”

  1. DaveSquirrel Says:

    Well, we already know that males re-write history to suit themselves, so of course it is no surprise that various ‘scientific’ studies ‘prove’ this or that, depending on the agenda.

    Back in the 70s, when I was in my high school years, it was really ‘frowned upon’ for female students to be good at maths and science. They were regarded as ‘boy subjects’. Strangely though, even with all this negative pressure for girls to underperform, I recall that the top three maths students in my class, year after year, were… you guessed it, FEMALE. In fact, the three of us were always in (a bit of) competition among ourselves. Same with Technical Drawing, the girls trumped. Not so sure about the science subjects, the results were more secretative and less clear.

    The bottom line is that males LIE about anything and everything to ‘prove’ their supposed superiority.

    The one thing males do excel at, over females, is lying. That does seem to be the sex difference constant.

    • Steph Says:

      It’s interresting that you say males lie about always being correct and try to suit themselves. Males may lie, but many females do the same. That comment is typical stereotyping behaviour. Generally, males are better at spatial tasks, and mathematics, this does not mean women are bad at it! I am a female, and am not a confident math student, but i know many males who are no better at math then me. Just because typically males are better, doesn’t mean females are bad at it. Males and females vary in their natural skills. I know males who aren’t very good at ‘hands on’ activities, while I know women who work on farms and pull their weight.
      Good on to “Shabnam”, the female mathematician.

      • liberalsareinsane Says:

        Awe was someone overly concerned about the menz feefees?

        “while I know women who work on farms and pull their weight.”
        lol. The last bit gives you away. Well it’s too bad men rarely “pull their weight” when entering female dominated fields. Male nurses = laziest most uppity mofos ever.

  2. Shabnam Says:

    As a female mathematician, I’ve had to suffer from this stereotype threat all my life. There is a brilliant book by psychologist Cordelia Fine debunkng all this shit called ‘Delusions of Gender’:

    Wonderful news fom the mathematical world:

    A teenage girl from Germany, Lisa Sauermann, has topped the all-time greatest list in the history of the International Maths Olympiad. Alas it won’t be me, but I am confident that there will one day be a female Fields Medalist.

  3. SheilaG Says:

    Shabnam, you better believe it! When the males get out of way, and we are free to study without their woman hating attacks as we study math…there will be women who win Fields Medals! It’s going to happen. Just as women are now the majority of the Harvard grads for the first time ever.

    Why do you think men create hostile work environments in and out of school? Because men know if women have unfettered access, we’ll surpass men academically. We’ll surpass them in science when they no longer can get in our way.

    We will out run them, we will create powerful new science.

    Wow, women in science, women in math, I salute you!!

  4. Bev Jo Says:

    You are so right, Dave and Shabnam and Gallus. Just look at how male scientists obscured how many animals are Lesbian and Gay. One researcher on Mountain Sheep, in writing about rams, said he couldn’t bear to write about “these magnificent animals” being “homosexual.” They lie to us all the time. I remember early school books talking about Marie Curie, while later books started crediting her work to her husband.

    Also, male scientists and researchers are often missing connections that women are more likely to make, especially about exploring cultures. We were told for so long that humans first came to the Americas about 12,000 years ago over the Bering Strait. But that doesn’t explain the fact that the South American sweet potato, called “kumara” by the Quechua (Incas) also is in Aotearoa (New Zealand), where the Maori word for it is “kumara.” Finally, after almost 30 years of knowing this, I saw a documentary in 2009 mentioning it and other proof that Polynesians and many other peoples came to the Americas long ago by sailing across the Pacific.

    Besides lying, men are far less likely to admit when they are wrong.

  5. Shabnam Says:

    Thanks for the salute, SheilaG.

    Bev Jo, regarding making connections – Just in case she is not well known amongst feminist circles, I would like to mention the great mathematician, Emmy Noether:

    She essentially created the field of abstract algebra. Whenever I hear the idea that women are somehow less suited to abstract mathematical thinking, I really can’t stop laughing at the irony!

    I wish she were better known outside the world of mathematics and theoretical physics as that is where talented young girls and women are constantly being made to doubt their abilities and are dissuaded from even contemplating a career in those fields.

  6. fwancis Says:

    I always find it interesting that while women are oppressed in male-dominated/centred societies, men are not oppressed in the few female dominated/centred societies. Quite a different picture to men’s over the top fantasy of (porntastic, piv-obsessed) warrior women (in sexy warrior outfits!) ruling a dystopian* society with an iron fist. It’s as though it’s not a lack of “gender equity” that’s the problem with the world, but men oppressing women.

    * Always. Because this is the only state society could be in if women ruled. And the reverse, patriarchy, is not dystopian, silly!

  7. Mochi Says:

    I know the focus of this blog is mostly trends in the transgendering of gender vairant people, but Gallus I LOVE it when you take the time to trash this ridiculous “scientific” sexism! So important these days. There’s such a concerted backlash against female advacement, and I take heart whenever I see some pro-evo psych dipshit using studies to defend his misogyny I KNOW that women have got these MEN running SCARED.

    A close friend of mine is a lesbian woman with a graduate degree in electrical engineering and her math and spacial ability are superb. I know if she was a man she would have long been promoted to managerial status. She is both a leader and technically adept. Of course, not to sound racist but she’s chinese american, and most of the women she works with are Jewish, or from India, East Asia or Eastern Europe, cultures where females are not as intensely discouraged from scientific or mathematical pursuits. Hmmmm, cultural influence plays a HUGE role in the development of complex cognitive abilities. More so than biology? Ya don’t say.

    He’s a man, but I love him any way. Greg Laden has taken this bullshit to task about genetic inferiority in the brains of women and non-whites. It’s bogus. Read his blog some time. He’s a feminist and a damn good scientist too.


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