The popular media has portrayed men and women as psychologically different as two planets – Mars and Venus - but these differences are vastly overestimated and the two sexes are more similar in personality, communication, cognitive ability and leadership than realized, according to a review of 46 meta-analyses conducted over the last 20 years.
According to the meta-analysis of studies on gender differences reported on in the current issue of the American Psychologist, males and females from childhood to adulthood are more alike than different on most but not all psychological variables, said psychologist Janet S. Hyde, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Psychological differences based on gender were examined in studies that looked at a number of psychological traits and abilities to determine how much gender influenced an outcome. The traits and variables examined were cognitive abilities, verbal and nonverbal communication, social or psychological traits like aggression or leadership, psychological well-being like self-esteem, motor behaviors like throwing distance and moral reasoning.
Gender differences accounted for either zero or a very small effect for most of the psychological variables examined, according to Hyde. Only motor behaviors (throwing distance), some aspects of sexuality and heightened physical aggression showed marked gender differences.
Pam Willenz | EurekAlert!
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