[Paleopsych] THES: IQ claim will fuel gender row
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Sun Sep 11 22:16:17 UTC 2005
IQ claim will fuel gender row
Thes Higher Educational Supplement
Published: 26 August 2005
Men are more likely to win Nobel prizes and other academic
distinctions because they are more intelligent than women, according
to a study to be published in a leading research journal.
In a paper that will reignite the academic row over genetic
differences between men and women, two prominent psychologists will
argue in the British Journal of Psychology that men have larger brains
and higher IQs than women, which makes them better suited to "tasks of
The paper's lead researcher is Paul Irwing, senior lecturer in
psychology at Manchester University. The co-author is Richard Lynn,
emeritus professor of psychology at Ulster University, who has caused
outrage in the past with claims that white people are more intelligent
than black people.
Dr Irwing said: "My politics are rather different from Richard's and I
would prefer it if we were wrong."
But he said that he had resolved to put "scientific truth" above his
personal political conflicts and potentially even his reputation.
The researchers concluded that there was a very strong case that men
not only have larger brains but have a higher IQ than women, by about
The paper will argue that while many academics have denied any IQ
difference, those who acknowledge a difference argue that it is too
small to be significant, or "not worth speaking of".
Dr Irwing said: "We do not think that a five-IQ-point difference can
be so easily dismissed."
He said that the difference meant that there were a much higher
proportion of men with higher IQs. There are 3 men to each woman with
an IQ above 130 and 5.5 men for each woman with an IQ above 145,
according to Dr Irwing.
"These different proportions of men and women with high IQ scores may
go some way to explaining the greater numbers of men achieving
distinctions of various kinds, such as chess grandmasters, Fields
medallists for mathematics, Nobel prizewinners and the like," he said.
The researchers acknowledge that women outnumber men at nearly every
level of educational achievement, PhD level being the sole exception.
The paper will argue that there is evidence that at the same level of
IQ, women are able to "achieve more" than men, "possibly because they
are more conscientious and better adapted to sustained periods of hard
The paper also cites a previous study that concluded that IQs in the
region of 125 are adequate to "ascend to all levels in the labour
"The small male advantage (in IQ) is therefore, likely to be of most
significance for tasks of high complexity, such as complex problem
solving in mathematics, engineering and physics," Dr Irwing said.
The research is bound to cause a furious backlash. Professor Lynn had
already caused controversy after claiming in a letter to this month's
The Psychologist that Cambridge University psychopathologist Simon
Baron-Cohen had "reached the same conclusion" as he had on gender.
This week, Professor Baron-Cohen said: "I wish Professor Lynn had read
the relevant section of my book, The Essential Difference, which
concludes that overall intelligence is not better in one sex or the
phil.baty at thes.co.uk
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