Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Gender disparities in cognition will not diminish

29.07.2014

Improved living conditions and less gender-restricted educational opportunities reduce the cognitive disparities between men and women or improve the gap in favor of women, according to new research by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Karolinska Institutet.

The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, investigated the extent to which improvements in living conditions and educational opportunities over a person’s life affect cognitive abilities and their implications for men and women.

“Our results show that there is no reason to expect all cognitive gender differences will diminish,” says Daniela Weber, IIASA researcher and lead author of the study.

“However, the findings from this study suggest that if women and men had equal levels of education, then we should expect a female advantage in episodic memory, a male advantage in numeracy, and no gender differences in category fluency (such as naming as many different animals as possible within one minute).”

The authors examined data from the “Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe” in which more than 31,000 men and women over the age of 50 from 13 European countries answered questions that tested cognitive functions including memory, mathematical ability, and verbal fluency. 

Analysis of the data showed gender differences in cognitive abilities to be associated with the age of the participant, country of origin, and the living conditions and educational opportunities participants were exposed to when entering adulthood and middle age.

The study demonstrates how the magnitude of cognitive gender differences varied systematically across regions and birth cohorts. In regions that had undergone improvements in living conditions and expansion of gender-equal educational opportunities, women displayed superior memory to men, men’s advantage in mathematical abilities decreased, and equivalent abilities in category fluency were observed.

“The results suggest that we should expect that women demonstrate relative strength in particular cognitive functions while men in others, even in societies with higher living conditions and more gender equal educational opportunities,” explains Weber. 

Previous studies have shown that men have an advantage in tasks assessing visuospatial and mathematical abilities, whereas women are found to outperform men in tasks assessing episodic memory and reading literacy, with no differences normally observed in category fluency and vocabulary.

In addition some research proposes biologically based explanations for these differences in cognitive abilities between the genders, whereas others indicate that societal factors influence the gender differences.

Reference
The Changing Face of Cognitive Gender Differences in Europe, Daniela Weber, Vegard Skirbekk, Inga Freund, and Agneta Herlitz. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS Early edition www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1319538111)

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1319538111

Philippa Brooks | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft

Further reports about: Analysis Gender IIASA cognitive cognitive abilities differences fluency improvements levels women

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht How we understand others
28.04.2016 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht The non-driving millennial? Not so simple, says new research
29.03.2016 | University of Vermont

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Mainz-based physicists find missing link between glass formation and crystallization

Densified regions with drastically reduced internal motion either act as crystal precursors or cluster and frustrate all further dynamics

Glasses are neither fluids nor crystals. They are amorphous solids and one of the big puzzles in condensed matter physics. For decades, the question of how...

Im Focus: Thousands on one chip: New Method to study Proteins

Since the completion of the human genome an important goal has been to elucidate the function of the now known proteins: a new molecular method enables the investigation of the function for thousands of proteins in parallel. Applying this new method, an international team of researchers with leading participation of the Technical University of Munich (TUM) was able to identify hundreds of previously unknown interactions among proteins.

The human genome and those of most common crops have been decoded for many years. Soon it will be possible to sequence your personal genome for less than 1000...

Im Focus: Optical lenses, hardly larger than a human hair

3D printing enables the smalles complex micro-objectives

3D printing revolutionized the manufacturing of complex shapes in the last few years. Using additive depositing of materials, where individual dots or lines...

Im Focus: Flexible OLED applications arrive

R2D2, a joint project to analyze and development high-TRL processes and technologies for manufacture of flexible organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been successfully completed.

In contrast to point light sources like LEDs made of inorganic semiconductor crystals, organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) are light-emitting surfaces. Their...

Im Focus: Unexpected flexibility found in odorant molecules

High resolution rotational spectroscopy reveals an unprecedented number of conformations of an odorant molecule – a new world record!

In a recent publication in the journal Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, researchers from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Quantum technologies to revolutionise 21st century - Nobel Laureates discuss at Lindau

30.06.2016 | Event News

International Conference ‘GEO BON’ Wants to Close Knowledge Gaps in Global Biodiversity

28.06.2016 | Event News

ERES 2016: The largest conference in the European real estate industry

09.06.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Mainz-based physicists find missing link between glass formation and crystallization

01.07.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Scientists observe first signs of healing in the Antarctic ozone layer

01.07.2016 | Earth Sciences

MRI technique induces strong, enduring visual association

01.07.2016 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>