Essay on Sex Differences and the Degree to Which They Exist in Men and Women

Essay on Sex Differences and the Degree to Which They Exist in Men and Women

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Sex Differences and the Degree to Which They Exist in Men and Women

Sex and Gender (Deaux, 1985)
The purpose of this article was to come to solid conclusions about the issue of sex and gender differences. Deaux arrived at these conclusions through comprehensive review of studies conducted on the issue in the past. The criteria he used to review this information was he only used psychological literature, he ignored broad physiological data unless related to a specific behavior, and did not use clinical or therapeutic research. As well he only dealt in areas of sex differences where there was wide spread research and held the most promise to explain how sex and gender influenced behavior. In addition he only focussed his research on adult studies leaving adolescent studies for other scientist. I will handle the summary of this article by breaking it up into the same sub-topics Deaux did and writing summaries of what he found about each.
Cognitive Skills:
-Mathematical Ability: In this area he found that men tend to be able to do some specific mental tasks better, such tasks were metal rotation and tests the involved horizontally-vertically manipulating objects. He found no differences in spatial visualization that required more sequential and analytic strategy. As well there was evidence that training could alter performance for men or women.
-Verbal Ability: Finds that women may have better verbal ability, but this difference is weak at best.
-In general: Finds that over the past twenty years women have been making gains in cognitive skills relative to men, this caution's the belief that behavior differences are indeed biological.
Personality Traits and Disposition:
-Achievement: Finds that women score higher in work and men are significantly higher on both mastery and competition. Finds subjective task value is the better predictor of both male and female choices in achievement domains.
-Masculinity and Femininity: Finds that this area is very broad and any reliable empirical system for measuring these differences will probably not be possible.
-Moral Development: Finds that actual differences are small but men show violence imagery in response to affiliation themes where achievement situations are more likely to elicit violence imagery in women.
Social Behaviors:
-Aggression: Finds that there is generally a 5% difference in males being ...

... middle of paper ... been found in Fleming's article. All in all I realized how truly difficult it is to come to conclusions about a seemingly black and white topic.

In conclusion the area of sex differences is as vast as 5 billion humans will allow. Even though many of the studies I reviewed are very in-depth they have also demonstrated how clear answers at this point in time can not be agreed upon. But because new inventive people and technology enter this field everyday there is great promise that one day a unified answer will be found.
- James Smeaton


1) Deaux, K. (1985) Sex and Gender. Annual Review of Psychology, 36, 49-81

2) Fleming, A. (1986). Sex Differences and Cross Cultural Studies. Women and Theory, 4, 23-33

3) Coltheart, M. Hull, E. Slater, D. (1975). Sex Differences in Imagery and Reading. Nature, 253, 438-440

4) Bingham, R. (Writer and Producer). 1988. The Sexual Brain [Film]. (Available from films for the Humanities & Science, Inc., Princeton, NJ.)

5) Serbin, L. Zelkowitz, P. Doyle, A. Gold, D. Wheaton B. (1990) The Socialization of Sex-Differentiated Skills and Academic Performance: A Mediational Model. Sex Roles, 23, 613-627

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