Girls tend to be healthier than boys ○ Female embryos are more likely than male embryos to survive prenatal development ○ Infant boys are more prone to birth complications, and throughout life, boys are more prone to many diseases and dysfunctions ○ Adolescent boys and young men are more likely to engage in unhealthy, risk-taking behaviours, including drinking alcohol, reckless driving, and sexual activity Differences in Intellectual Abilities and Achievement VERBAL ABILITY ● Girls have larger vocabularies than boys and are more talkative ● During elementary and high school, girls read, write, and spell better than boys and this difference is found in all industrialized countries ● More boys diagnosed with language-related problems such as reading disability or specific language impairment ● Girls more verbally talented because the left hemisphere of the brain, which is central to language, may mature more rapidly in girls than boys ● Experience also contributes to differential ability in language ○ During toddler years, mothers talk more to daughters than to sons and by elementary- school years, reading is often stereotyped as an activity for girls which make girls more willing than boys to invest time and effort in mastering verbal skills like reading SPATIAL ABILITY ● One aspect of spatial ability is mental rotation , the ability to imagine how an object will look after it has been moved in space ○ Task is to determine which of the figures labelled A-E are rotated versions of the figure in the box on left ○ Boys tend to have better mental-rotation skills than girls ■ Early start to the sex differences in mental rotation → infancy ■ At what period in infancy differences are shown may depend on the task
● Another aspect of spatial ability is spatial memory , the ability to remember the position of objects in the environment ○ Spatial ability also involves determining relations between objects in space while ignoring distracting information ○ For example, which of the tilted bottles of water in Figure 13-4 has the waterline drawn correctly? In an upright bottle, the waterline is at right angles to the sides of the bottle, but selecting the correct answer for the tilted bottle (A, in this case) requires that you ignore the conflicting perceptual information provided by the sides of the bottle ○ From adolescence on, boys are more accurate than girls on these kinds of spatial tasks ● Some explanations for gender differences in mental rotation and other spatial abilities emphasize biology ● A related idea is that the right hemisphere of the brain may be more specialized for spatial processing in males than in females, perhaps because boys mature more slowly than girls ● Experience certainly contributes → boys are more likely than girls to participate in activities that foster spatial skill, such as estimating the trajectory of an object moving through space, using two-dimensional plans to assemble an object such as a scale model ●
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- Fall '13
- Cognitive Theories of Gender Identity