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.
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)
Philippa Brooks | idw - Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
Fixating on faces
26.01.2017 | California Institute of Technology
Internet use in class tied to lower test scores
16.12.2016 | Michigan State University
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering