Lion of the Blogosphere

White men are smarter than white women, more evidence from SAT scores

I specifically say “white,” because among blacks, the ability gap between men and women is much smaller. For evidence I cite this paper. Although it’s form 1988 using data from 1985, we know that these differences between races and sexes have not changed much at all over time.

It may actually be better to look at test scores from the 1980s, because I am pretty sure that since then, the ETS has been trying to jigger the test so that it’s more biased in favor of females and against males. (In fact, I suspect that the recent change in which ETS stopped reporting the multiple-choice verbal section scores independent of the written essay was intended to hide the fact that females score lower on the non-essay verbal section.

In the 1985 data, white males outperformed white females by 52 points in math and 8 points in verbal. (And black males outperformed black females by 31 points in math and 10 points in verbal, but black females far outnumbered black male test takers in 1985.)

The report is also kind enough to provide the standard deviations for every average, and we see that men have a higher standard deviation than women. (And we also see that blacks score the expected 0.96 standard deviations less than whites on the verbal section, and 0.97 standard deviations less than whites on the match section.)

On the one hand, the scores are biased against females because more females take the test, and the extra test-takers disproportionately come from the lower half of the bell curve. I believe this is the reason we see a females doing worse on the SAT from the 1980s onward compared to earlier times when college education was seen more as a male thing because women weren’t expected to have careers for their whole lives.

But on the other hand, the scores are biased against males, if we are only looking to measure aptitude rather than achievement, because females are almost surely putting more effort into preparing for the test. In all levels of education, females get better grades than males. This is even true in high school math and science classes. Girls get better grades than boys in high school math and science classes. (Because our society is gynocentric, no one cares about school being biased against boys. You hardly ever hear about it.) But this advantage does not carry through to the SAT because the SAT is more of an aptitude test than high school grades which are more heavily weighted in favor of conscientiousness (more studying and more time spent doing homework assignments) and agreeableness (telling the teacher what they want to hear and good behavior in class). But if girls are studying more than boys for their high school classes, then surely they are also studying more for the SAT, so I suspect that if studying had been equal, the male-female gap on the SAT would be even greater.

* * *

The next issue to address is whether the SAT measures intelligence, and whether the math or verbal section measures intelligence more.

The SAT measures g (the general factor of intelligence), preparation for the exam, and two ability factors independent of g, m (for math ability) and v (for verbal ability). If we could know every test taker’s true measure of g, v, m and prep, we’d be able to do a regression analysis and come up with a predictive formula which would look like this:

SAT-V = g*xv + v*yv + prep*zv
SAT-M = g*xm + m*ym + prep*zm

Men definitely have an advantage over women in m. It’s possible that women have a similarly high advantage over men in v, but because total verbal skills are a combination of g and v, and men have higher g, overall verbal ability is approximately equal between the sexes. I say it’s possible, I don’t know this for certain.

* * *

The next issue to address is whether this matters. I say that the overall difference between all men and women doesn’t matter, what does matter is differences within certain segments of the population. Based on what I wrote yesterday about men having a higher standard deviation of intelligence, the reality is that in the bottom third of the population, women are smarter than men, and when combined with women having higher conscientiousness and agreeableness, among the bottom third of the population women are much better citizens than men. But in the top third of the population, men are smarter than women. It’s in the top third of the population where all of the important activity takes place which advances civilization. The bottom third of the population just provides menial labor.

Written by Lion of the Blogosphere

August 29, 2019 at 10:38 AM

Posted in Biology

20 Responses

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  1. “And black males outperformed black females by 31 points in math and 10 points in verbal, but black females far outnumbered black male test takers in 1985.) ”

    BUT black females far outnumbered black male test takers?

    Doesn’t that imply that the males were drawn from a relatively smaller right-hand section (i.e. more elite) of their respective bell curves?

    PV van der Byl

    August 29, 2019 at 11:04 AM

    • Right, we presume that if more black males took the test, black females might outperform black males.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 29, 2019 at 11:05 AM

  2. Did anyone ever figure out who La Griffe du Lion is?

    http://www.lagriffedulion.f2s.com/math.htm

    There ARE some women who are very good in math. According to Griffe, females make up 29% of people above the 99th percentile for math ability.

    As you go further out in the upper tail, the portion of women gets smaller, but doesn’t go to zero.
    Griffe says about 1 out of 10 who are 4.1 standard deviations above the mean (for math ability) is a female. He obtains this using a theoretical calculation that also agrees with the results of the Putnam Mathematical Competition.

    Here is a woman who scored in the top 5 of the Putnam competition:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ioana_Dumitriu

    According to Griffe, this makes her at least 4.9 standard deviations above the male average.

    Here is another woman who scored in the top 5:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melanie_Wood

    Rosenmops

    August 29, 2019 at 11:43 AM

    • Good links. But for the love of God, if anyone knows or suspects who La Griffe is, don’t doxx him.

      Wency

      August 29, 2019 at 1:31 PM

      • Yup. I know with certainty who La Griff is but not telling anyone. Just hope that he comes out some day. Nothing to lose in an advanced age and it would be a shame to die without a final hurrah.

        mapman

        August 29, 2019 at 11:45 PM

    • Don’t forget poor maryam mirzakhani, the only female recipient of the fields medal. ‘Poor’ because she passed away at the tender age of 40.

      My sister is something of a math whiz, but her career ambition was close to zero. I think lion is grossly underestimating the role female lack of competitiveness plays in these statistical differences. Even the ambitious women aren’t all that ambitious by male standards.

      Wanting to be best, the drive to be high earning will have a snowball effect on all kinds of life choices. And conversely having little interest in either will have an anti-snowball effect.

      I’m not denying men (at least at the top end) are smarter than women, just that the ambition disparity is a huge factor in life trajectory.

      toomanymice

      August 29, 2019 at 1:38 PM

      • Relative lack of ambition is normal for women and related to their main task in life (up till very recently): bearing and raising children.

        In most mammals, the males fight for access to females. That would select for ambition, among other things. We all have more distinct female ancestors than male, because a lot of men lost that fight.

        Frau Katze

        August 30, 2019 at 3:21 AM

      • Some women express ambition for their sons. I’m thinking of descriptions of how awful life was in a sultan’s harem. It wasn’t because that they had to share the sultan.

        Far more important: will my son become the next sultan? A lot of intrigue around that.

        Frau Katze

        August 30, 2019 at 3:38 AM

  3. “It’s possible that women have a similarly high v compared m, but because total verbal skills are a combination of g and m, and men have higher g, overall verbal ability is approximately equal between the sexes.”

    Maybe my “g” isn’t high enough to figure this out, but this doesn’t make sense to me. How is it that “total verbal skills are combination of g and m”? Shouldn’t that be “g and v” so that higher male g compensates for lower male v, which is the reason why “verbal ability is approximately equal between the sexes”?

    G Whiz

    August 29, 2019 at 1:19 PM

    • That was a horrible typo. I’ve updated the post, hopefully now it makes more sense.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 29, 2019 at 1:39 PM

      • Oh, no biggy, everybody makes mistakes (especially when it’s just a matter of confusing two letters in close proximity). I just wanted to make sure that I wasn’t being an idiot in thinking that the thought appeared to be expressed backwards here!

        G Whiz

        August 29, 2019 at 6:30 PM

  4. It’s in the top third of the population where all of the important activity takes place which advances civilization.

    And remember that since 1989 or so, women have been exempted from reading anything written by a “dead white male.” So even within that top third, they’re (self) handicapped.

    Vipltd

    August 29, 2019 at 1:46 PM

  5. OT:

    Any thoughts on Dorian? Miami is on the southern edge of the cone, but everyone here is in full freakout mode. A little while ago I tried to go to the Publix supermarket near my house and literally could not turn into the parking lot. Hopefully I’ll have better luck at Milam’s.

    Some gas stations are already turning cars away. (I always go to the same station, so I called ahead and the manager let me fill up the tank.)

    Stan Adams

    August 29, 2019 at 1:47 PM

    • You should be reading my tweets! I already tweeted about Dorian.

      Lion of the Blogosphere

      August 29, 2019 at 2:00 PM

    • Just one damn good reason not to live in Florida, besides the sh!tty people known as proles who preoccupy the place when New York City snowbirds are not in season.

      Ok, what, who's this again?

      August 30, 2019 at 11:14 AM

  6. I wonder if the higher standard deviation in men is due to the fact that a woman had to have a semi reasonable IQ if she was to be able to bring up children.

    With men, a tribe might think, “Well we can keep X around. He’s stupid as a box of rocks, but he’s strong, just needs guidance.”

    Frau Katze

    August 30, 2019 at 3:13 AM

    • The higher male SD covers a vast range of human characteristics, both mental and physical. Not just IQ.

      For all of human existence, the median woman has produced more children than the median man, often a lot more, with the median man often producing zero.

      Meanwhile, the extraordinarily successful man might have produced 10x or even 100x the number of children that the extraordinarily successful woman did.

      Therefore, it has always favored men to be exceptional and to take risks, avoiding the median. This extends to biology. The worst, most malformed man in society might father just as many children as the median man. This is not true of women.

      Of course, some people say higher male SD is just due to having two different chromosomes (X and Y). Could be both.

      Wency

      August 30, 2019 at 9:48 AM

      • I think there may be more to it than just a Y chromosone.

        Lion of the Blogosphere

        August 30, 2019 at 10:09 AM

      • Physical superiority is due to testosterone.

        Women score higher in some personality traits and men in others. Yes, men will score higher at anything that would give them an edge and make them more attractive to females.

        Frau Katze

        August 30, 2019 at 10:11 PM

  7. You underestimate how important it is that women are better than men in the bottom third of society.

    An IQ 90, high C woman can still look after her own or someone else’s kids without killing them. An IQ 83, low C man is going to abuse or neglect those kids. An IQ 90, high C woman can still show up to her menial job every day, on time, for 20 years. An IQ 83, low C man might show up to work an hour late, drunk and high, and get into fights with his coworkers. To an employer she’s dependable and consistent. Furthermore, high A means she’s better at getting along with coworkers and customers.

    Low IQ men have only one advantage over their female peers: physical strength. But with automation, men’s physical strength means less and less with each passing day. By 2100 we may find that men’s physical advantages mean almost nothing in daily life.

    Low IQ, low C, low A men are net drags on society. We’d be better off if we euthanized them. Whereas their slightly higher IQ, high C, high A sisters are useful, if only as society’s pack mules.

    SC

    August 31, 2019 at 5:12 PM


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