Who is smarter, girls or boys? It's a perennial battle of the sexes that rages in schoolyards and over dinner tables across the nation. According new research by James Flynn, a world-renowned expert on IQ testing, the answer is that women are starting to edge out their male counterparts in the brains department.
Flynn examined data from western European countries, the United States, Canada, New Zealand, Argentina and Estonia and found that for the first time in a century of testing, women are scoring higher than men on IQ examinations. Until recently, women's scores lagged behind men's by as much as five percent leading some scientists to claim that men were inherently more intelligent than women. Over the decades, men's and women's scores have both improved, but women's have surged more dramatically. "The full effect of modernity on women is only just emerging," Flynn told the Sunday Times of London.
IQ, or "intelligence quotient" tests were developed in the early 20th Century. They rate a subject's aptitude for solving problems and understanding concepts compared with the general population. Tests generally examine language ability, mathematic ability, memory, and spatial ability. A score of over 130 indicates exceptional intelligence with the median score being about 100.
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While multi-tasking has gotten a bad wrap in some psychological literature, Flynn speculates that the demands put on women's brains when they juggle work and family may have helped boost their scores. Another possibility he cites is that women have a higher potential for intelligence--which is emerging as they are given more opportunities to compete in the world outside the home. Flynn is currently working on a book on the subject of gender and IQ and says more research needs to be done in order to fully understand the results.
In the United States, this research coincides with statistics that show women now make up more than half of college undergraduates and hold more advanced degrees than men.
Do you think women are smarter than men? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.
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