Lion of the Blogosphere

The higher standard deviation of male intelligence

How the New SAT has Disadvantaged Female Testers

It has been stated by many intelligence researchers that men have a higher standard deviation of intelligence than women. This is seen in the SAT data at the link above.

Female test takers are disproportionately likely to score between 800 and 1190 (and especially disproportionately likely to score between 800 and 990) while male test takers are disproportionately likely to score above 1190 and below 800.

Among people scoring 1400 and above (which is equivalent to 1350 for people who took the test before the scoring was re-normed in 1996 to make the verbal scores higher), males outnumber females by 1.29 to 1, even though fewer males take the test.

I believe that, overall, men are on average a little bit more intelligent than women, but if you only hang out with college graduates, then your perception of men being smarter than women is going to be more pronounced. On the other hand, if you don’t have any education beyond high school, and you only hang out with people similarly educated, then your perception might be that women are smarter than men.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 28, 2019 at 4:01 PM

Posted in Biology

59 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Obviously this has been known by HBD students for a long time, and as you say conforms with the day to day experiences of anyone who works in a cognitively demanding environment. I happen to be a bridge expert and have played the game at the highest level for about 40 years. Experts can quickly assess the skills of fellow players, of which I’ve encountered many thousands. Competent females are remarkably scarce; their powers of inference and deduction are weak in comparison with males. The differences are really stark, which is surprising given the comparatively small differences in IQ at the higher deciles of the distribution.


    August 28, 2019 at 4:50 PM

    • The lack of top-level female bridge players probably owes even more to women lacking the urge to win as it does differing IQ.

      On the other hand, the best card player I personally encountered was a woman, but outside of playing cards she wasn’t a super genius (although she was smart enough to get into an Ivy League school).

      And my grandmother was better at playing cards than my grandfather.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 28, 2019 at 4:55 PM

      • That reminds me of something off-topic: one of my best friends in high school was an African who was a national-level chess player. Couldn’t tell you his chess rating but he had won a number of state-level competitions. But this guy struggled with very basic Algebra 2 and calculus, and had mediocre SAT scores.

        Also OT but relevant to video games and work in the post-scarcity society:


        August 28, 2019 at 5:04 PM

      • I’ve written many times that chess has a lower correlation with IQ than people think. All of the chess hustlers in NYC parks are black.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2019 at 5:07 PM

      • “Economically redundant people might spend increasing amounts of time within 3D virtual reality worlds, which would provide them with far more excitement and emotional engagement than the “real world” outside.”

        He must have been reading my blog! I was 10 years ahead of him.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2019 at 5:13 PM

      • That’s not correct Lion. I agree that males have a greater urge to win. That would explain why more males than females enter the most competitive tournaments. But it can’t explain why, in lower level tournaments, and given an enormous sample size, females consistently play relatively badly. It’s not just that most females don’t want to devote their lives to becoming experts. It’s more that they don’t possess the innate thinking processes to become experts at this particular game. Chess is the same. I sometimes play with a female and get to observe her thought processes in minute detail. This is not a stupid woman. But her ability to think logically is woeful. That’s not uncommon.


        August 28, 2019 at 5:07 PM

      • Yeah, thinking logically is something that’s partially independent from IQ.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2019 at 5:16 PM

      • “urge to win” yep, this.

        All the women in my family regard games of any sort as basically an icebreaker to enable conversation and socialization. All the men in my family have to actively monitor our competitive impulse so that we’re not too big of assholes about it, especially when the women are around.


        August 28, 2019 at 5:23 PM

      • That second comment by lioncub is interesting though. I’ve never sat on the other side of a chess board from a woman who cared much about winning or had ever given a moment’s thought to the most basic principles of chess strategy and tactics.

        So as for what lioncub describes, I don’t know if I’d call it logical thinking, or maybe call it “abstract strategic thinking”. It may be that a certain kind of woman wants the emotional satisfaction of victory as much as a man, and she likes the idea of achieving this in an intellectual contest like chess, but in the moment she has a tough time fully engaging her mind on the thought that nothing else matters besides finding some way to move these abstract little pieces on the board so as to achieve checkmate.


        August 28, 2019 at 5:44 PM

      • “I’ve written many times that chess has a lower correlation with IQ than people think. All of the chess hustlers in NYC parks are black.”

        Part of the hustle is that tourists (who themselves probably play a few times a year) don’t expect a homeless-looking black guy to be good at chess. None of those chess hustlers are grandmasters, or anything close.

        Chess success is very much correlated with intelligence.

        I have been trying to pin down the IQs of the top grandmasters and there doesn’t seem to be enough data on that but my best understanding is that the top players in the world (e.g. top 10) are in the 160-190 range.

        This study found a strong correlation between ELO rating and most measures of IQ.


        August 28, 2019 at 8:30 PM

      • Chess hustlers are indeed the grandmasters of speed chess. Seriously, the best chess hustlers have beaten grandmasters at blitz chess.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2019 at 8:41 PM

      • Chess in the Park seems to be the only outdoor activity that is highly cerebral, or what a high IQ would participate, as opposed to other forms of recreational circle jerk.

        Besides shopping for food or just anything gustatory, bricks n mortar shopping seems to be a boring activity for many, but anyone who frequent bookstores on a regular basis would be someone of a higher IQ.

        Ok, what, who's this again?

        August 28, 2019 at 10:09 PM

      • And then there’s this one–black, female, and a federal circuit court judge to boot:


        August 28, 2019 at 10:57 PM

      • Recreational shopping is shallow and emotionally driven.


        August 29, 2019 at 8:03 AM

    • Obviously this has been known by HBD students for a long time, and as you say conforms with the day to day experiences of anyone who works in a cognitively demanding environment.

      Right. You don’t need HBD to know this. Nor do you need to have worked in a cognitively demanding environment to know this. You merely need some very basic experience with the world. It is obvious to any twelve-year old. I remember when I was in middle school a friend and I discussed this truth, at a time when we had never heard of HBD, bell curves, standard deviation, etc. We even made a graph divided into four quartiles with men occupying the top and bottom quartiles and women occupying the middle two, a sort of poor man’s bell curve. It is obvious to anyone with a minimal level of observation skills. Who needs the SAT?


      August 29, 2019 at 11:23 PM

  2. That male and female IQ have different SD’s makes a lot of sense and seems to support facts on the ground, though I recall one study in the last few years not replicating it (any others?)

    You would think that if there’s a genetic mechanism for male and female IQ to diverge, it’s being selected for heavily right now, since female IQ is negatively correlated with fertility, male IQ not so much. But my understanding is that it’s tougher for sex-specific traits to evolve than factors that affect both sexes.

    I think the evidence is that if there’s an average difference in IQ between sexes, it favors men, especially once brains are fully mature by the mid-20s (but most IQ testing stops before this age). But then you have to wonder to what degree people on the bottom are not being picked up. There’s a lot more male death at every stage of life, and seeing as how IQ is positively correlated with life expectancy, you’d expect people who die before age 18 or before age 25 to have lower IQ on average than those who don’t.

    So it’s possible that male and female expected IQ are basically equal at birth, maybe even favoring females if theoretically every miscarriage was somehow kept alive (stillbirths 10x more likely to be male!), but male IQ is higher for those who actually survive to adulthood.


    August 28, 2019 at 5:08 PM

    • I think your reasoning about higher mortality rates of young males (who on average are less intelligent) than of young females must be correct. But surely mortality rates of young people are so low as to have no significant effect on the aggregate data?


      August 28, 2019 at 5:33 PM

      • You could be right, largely speculating here.

        Looked up the stats and about 1% of the U.S. population dies before age 20 (and about 60% of those die as infants). Another 1% are stillborn (and again, 90%+ stillbirths are male). So the stillbirth IQ effect is probably way bigger than the age 0-20 effect, especially as we know stillbirths are often caused by abnormalities that would cause severe retardation if the child somehow survived.

        But I guess when you think about the math, it would be tough for 2% of the population to explain so much as a 1 point difference in average IQ.

        Factoring in all miscarriages could be a big enough number to make the difference though — maybe 50% of all pregnancies, but this is basically now just an intuition and largely unquantifiable.


        August 28, 2019 at 6:54 PM

    • Yes. You basically have to measure genetic IQ at birth, because a lot of bottom decile men and boys have Darwin Awards deaths starting in their teens.

      I bet if you look at average IQ by gender at age 60, the difference is staggering, because a ton of bottom third men have died from Darwin Awards accidents, blue collar job accidents, drunk driving, homicide, drug overdoses, genetic disorders.

      As for your last paragraph, I agree.


      August 31, 2019 at 5:19 PM

  3. It’s even more obvious when you break it down by college major:

    Of course, going to college excludes all the extremely low-iq people who are mostly men.


    August 28, 2019 at 5:40 PM

    • Psychology was definitely easy for me in college, but philosophy was so-so. If I had to take the Philosophy courses again, about 20 years later, I think I would ace the courses.

      The Islamic intellectuals in the Middle Ages focused on Greek Science, Philosophy and Medicine, and not Greek poetry and plays.

      Why didn’t the Muslims read Euripides? Well, there you go.

      Ok, what, who's this again?

      August 28, 2019 at 6:44 PM

  4. Last year, my niece scored 720M/550V, wasn’t accepted at any U.C., and now has to pay a fortune to attend private. Those numbers would have put her at Berkeley in 1985. That is the only issue. This discussion is really no different than trading baseball cards.

    Department 11

    August 28, 2019 at 7:05 PM

    • Based on that math score, she should have done better on verbal. By as much as 100 points. Your brother/sister did not make her study vocabulary, I assume, or pay for a specialized course.


      August 28, 2019 at 10:19 PM

    • Why didn’t she attend a Cal State campus? After two years she could have tried to transfer to a UC.



      August 28, 2019 at 10:28 PM

    • Keep in mind the SAT has been renormed a couple times since 1985. Her math SAT wouldve been 50 points lower back then, her verbal maybe more than 100 points lower.


      August 28, 2019 at 11:08 PM

      • I had a great score on the SAT back when it still meant something. My niece and nephew took it more recently and my sister couldn’t stop crowing about how they scored about as high as I did. I wanted to say, “Not really.” But that would have sounded petty. Sometimes one just has to swallow it.


        August 29, 2019 at 8:13 AM

    • I would think those numbers put a girl in a strong position to go to a good public tech school (maybe not Caltech/MIT). I notice that a lot of state tech schools that used to be 30% female are now 40% female, and I suspect the girls are getting a leg up.

      But as others noted, that’s just a silly low verbal score for an intelligent person who is a native English speaker. If you can read a book or essay intended for adults and understand it, I don’t think there’s an excuse to score below 600 (1 SD above the borderline-illiterate mean).


      August 29, 2019 at 9:04 AM

      • Remember that 600 on the verbal section today is like 540 before 1996 when the scored were re-normed.

        For the record, my SAT score was 1410, 720 math and 690 verbal. However, I got smarter after that because 1410 isn’t high enough to get into the Triple Nine Society, but then in college and shortly afterwards my GMAT and LSAT scores were both the minimum score needed to get into the Triple Nine Society, despite doing practically no preparation for either test. So I would say that my intelligence peaked in my early 20s and has been declining ever since. When I took the GMAT a second time when I was 29 (I think, not exactly sure), my score dropped and was no longer a Triple-Nine-Society-eligible score, even though the second time around I put in quite a bit of effort into prepping for the exam.

        I wonder how poorly I would do if I took an exam today?

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 29, 2019 at 9:18 AM

      • My intelligence peaked later too. I got only a 12- something on the SAT but I got a 40 on the MCAT ( aken at age 29.)


        August 29, 2019 at 9:32 AM

      • Math is where the mind deteriorates. I don’t see a reason why verbal should get worse.

        I took the GMAT right as I finished college, no preparation, just in case I wanted to do MBA school later. It was only good for 5 years though so I took it again around age 27 as I contemplated going to MBA school late.

        I did slightly better on the math at age 27, but I studied hard to refresh my memory, probably 40-50 hours of studying. I also improved a bit on the verbal (perfect score as I recall), without any studying. I feel like I could still ace the verbal even today without studying, but the math would be that much harder.

        I think your vocab, at least as tests measure it, should continue to increase most of your life. Even if you forget the exact meaning of a word, you can probably remember it well enough to get the answer right in context.


        August 29, 2019 at 9:39 AM

  5. “Yeah, thinking logically is something that’s partially independent from IQ”

    Disciplines that require higher IQs such as philosophy and mathematics are very logic based.

    Ok, what, who's this again?

    August 28, 2019 at 7:14 PM

  6. I know a kid who scored a perfect 800 on the reading portion of the SAT about 3 years ago. Can i get an iq assessment? his background : poor, foreign.


    August 28, 2019 at 8:16 PM

    • I knew a girl in the 90s who scored 1580 after being in the US less than a year. She got perfect on the verbal and wasn’t a native English speaker.


      August 28, 2019 at 9:28 PM

    • SAT to I Q conversion chart.


      August 28, 2019 at 10:01 PM

    • As Lion stated, SAT verbal can be easily mastered by memorizing vocabulary lists. I got an 800 verbal SAT pre-2016 (twice, no less), but my Wechsler IQ is only in the 115-120 range.

      I think SAT math may be a slightly better predictor of intelligence.


      August 28, 2019 at 11:13 PM

      • I wouldn’t say easily, but memorizing vocabulary words can definitely boost one’s score by a few points.

        However, I believe that the math section is more easily studied for. There are only so many different types of math problems, but a potentially infinite variety of reading passages.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 28, 2019 at 11:30 PM

      • Yeah, i actually shouldve phrased that to say, “can be easily mastered by certain people who already have a certain level of ability”.


        August 28, 2019 at 11:32 PM

      • This is a complicated point, but certain males want to do better on the SATs, it is a matter of pride, and more. Not so for a lot of the girls. In the 1980s, I was a nerd at a fairly prolish high school in the “great beyond,” those vast East Coast suburbs that produce the engineers, lawyers, cops, state school profs, what have you, that keep the country running.

        Some of us studied like crazy for the test, memorizing vocabulary words on the bus to school, taking practice exams on Saturdays at the public library. People even used to cheat on it fairly easily, finishing one part early and continuing on to the next when no one was looking.

        I still remember how focused I was when I took the test in 11th grade, it was my day. Maybe it was the coffee, but I had an incredible level of focus, strong concentration, no fear. I scored 700 V and 660 M, which meant something in those days, and I can still remember the score all these years later. Why? It set up my life, it was an entry point into a very different world than the one experienced by many of my classmates.

        So, maybe men are more intelligent than women, but it is also true that males do better on these types of exams because they want to. Because they have to.

        We used to play chess as well, but that was just a game. Our “real” chess game was the SATs.

        The Shepherd

        August 29, 2019 at 3:12 AM

      • “I think SAT math may be a slightly better predictor of intelligence.”

        The true predictor of intelligence is spatial manipulation.

        I GOT 100%


        August 29, 2019 at 7:46 AM

      • “The true predictor of intelligence is spatial manipulation.”

        I read a study years ago which said the greatest predictor of success in engineering was not SAT or general IQ but spatial ability.


        August 29, 2019 at 8:43 AM

  7. There is an interview of Marylyn vos Savant from the eighties when she says just that, more girl in the middle, more boys at the extreme (starting at 1.5 sd)


    August 28, 2019 at 8:37 PM

    • Most people can intuit that from day-to-day life experience, no differently than most people can intuit black-white differences in intelligence.


      August 28, 2019 at 11:11 PM

  8. “then your perception might be that women are smarter than men”

    Women are more manipulative in their relations with men than vice-versa so it just seems they are smarter. Children are the most manipulative and women are their prime targets. Women are next on the manipulation ladder and men are their prime targets. Men are mostly hopeless at manipulation.

    Contrary to the gaslighting mommy stories more mothers are gaslit by their children than vice-versa. I’d bet the whole manipulation pyramid is genetic. I never cease to be amazed at how focused women can get when it comes to the well being of their kids. In fact, the only time I see women turn from SJWs to Trumpists is when some SJW gets the son or daughter in their cross-hairs.


    August 28, 2019 at 9:56 PM

    • “Men are mostly hopeless at manipulation.”

      Charles Manson was a master manipulator.


      August 29, 2019 at 7:47 AM

      • Higher male variance in manipulativeness, also???


        August 29, 2019 at 9:54 AM

      • Yes, plus the cruel will to subjugate.


        August 29, 2019 at 11:18 AM

    • “Charles Manson was a master manipulator.”

      Most of his followers were addicts and/or mentally ill. I doubt many normal, healthy people would have fallen for his baloney.


      August 29, 2019 at 9:28 AM

    • ” I never cease to be amazed at how focused women can get when it comes to the well being of their kids. In fact, the only time I see women turn from SJWs to Trumpists is when some SJW gets the son or daughter in their cross-hairs.”

      It explains the white woman single/married divide in political party preference.

      Mike Street Station

      August 31, 2019 at 9:00 AM

  9. Related to a topic often discussed here:

    Lori Loughlin is saying the money to USC were donations, not bribes.

    Perfect! Amen to this defense! She should win easily. Apparently the checks were made out to USC athletics, and were cashed.

    Honestly I cannot distinguish that from what tons of wealthy parents do all the time, donating heavily to colleges which should then hopefully admit their kids.


    August 28, 2019 at 9:59 PM

  10. Most of the IQ tests which demonstrate men & women have equivalent average IQs are from 11-13 year old children, an age range in which girls are more developmentally mature than boys. When testing mature male brains (20yo+) the data suggests that men have a roughly 3-5 IQ point advantage, on average, over women. This is in addition to having a higher SD.

    Panther of the Blogocube

    August 28, 2019 at 10:26 PM

    • …by age 20+ a lot of the low IQ boys have died from homicide, drugs, or drunk driving. Or they’re in prison and unable to be part of some IQ study.


      August 31, 2019 at 5:21 PM

  11. Many well-educated women say and do a lot of dopey things. I do not believe that they are really as intelligent as their degrees and scores indicate. Men think much more logically.


    August 28, 2019 at 11:44 PM

  12. Speaking of college, I just learned, from a comment on a lesser Unz thread, that in 1979 I was on campus at the same time as a future black serial killer. In Florida in the ‘80’s, a 240-pound Schvarz killed 7 whites as part of initiation into a YT-hating cult. Turns out he was the star defensive tackle at Berkeley the same time I was there. The guy didn’t even graduate high school, yet the coach found a way to get him in. He got 22 years, but was paroled in 10, thanks to testifying against the cult leader, but is now doing life because his 3rd strike was kiting $2000 in checks.


    August 29, 2019 at 12:21 AM

    • Did this happen to be University of Florida (where im at right now)? There was another famous serial killer here 20 years ago named Danny Rolling.


      August 29, 2019 at 9:52 AM

      • He’s talking about Robert Rozier and the Yahweh ben Yahweh cult.


        August 29, 2019 at 1:35 PM

  13. The explanation for higher male IQ? More men than women read Lion’s blog!

    Maryk (the g-loaded guidette)

    August 29, 2019 at 12:47 AM

    • Haha, MaryK. (I’m happy you finally capitalized the initial “M.”

      Anything good men have they get from their mothers. Anything good women have they get from their fathers. This is the conundrum of life.

      Did you see ONCE UPON A TIME IN H-WOOD? Wudja think?


      August 29, 2019 at 7:50 AM

  14. if you only hang out with college graduates, then your perception of men being smarter than women is going to be more pronounced.

    Not really my impression, at least not when hanging out with Ivy League women. Smart women tend to be more well rounded, men more specialized. I know brilliant male engineers who seem mentally retarded in some social situations, and I have met male CEOs who don’t seem to have a grasp of basic geography. So even though men are actually more intelligent, on average, in daily life intelligent women will often seem more perceptive and clued in.

    I also have met a lot of men who never went to college who are quite intelligent, even if they aren’t “book smart”. Most women I know without college degrees are just ignorant and lazy.

    Peter Akuleyev

    August 29, 2019 at 10:11 AM

  15. East Asian men have narrower IQ bell curves, just like caucasian women. Coincidentally East Asian men, and I’m thinking Chinese in particular, are also the least masculine.


    August 29, 2019 at 10:30 AM

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: