[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
    Phil Baty
    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
    high complexity".

    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
    five points.

    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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