Aishwarya Rao
On 3rd of April last year, I met two of my now very good friends for the first time. It turned out to be an unforgettable evening. Not that we were at TGIF cutting table tissues with bar knives...but we were engaged in a 3hr discussion on the differences between sexes. I clearly remember the madness. Me, trying to prove that classical conditioning is the reason why men and women behave the way they do, my good friend refuting it by citing biological evolution as the fundamental trigger and the third sipping cold coffee, with a hopelessness about life and his 2 companions.

Today I came across this article in The Economist. It takes a while but definitely worth the read.

While the article concludes that reasons more biological than external (such as cultural stereotyping) might explain behavioural differences between men and women, the conclusion is based more on compilation of experiments than on any substantial evidence. It is apparent that most of the social science experiments have been carried out on men and women than on new-borns (which might be important if one wants to prove that people are born with certain abilities and preferences).

Next the results of these experiments (such as who has better math/verbal ability...or who is more aggressive?) on behavioural patterns show negligible gaps which are often generalized and mass extrapolated for the sake of convenience . With -0.02 as the difference between men and women on a range of variables such as math/verbal ability/reading comprehension, it is grossly inappropriate to conclude that men have better math skills and women better verbal skills.

Since the list can go on, it still remains to be seen through experiments with minimum limitations generating conclusive evidence, whether it is biological factors or classical conditioning that impacts behavioural patterns. So long, we might as well enjoy reading such well presented and balanced arguments.
16 Responses
  1. Arghh... I remember reading somewhere that the women are the deadlier of the sexes... All these are just fun facts and I would love the world to let it be just that.

    Argument has a beginning and an end, a discussion has a beginning and sometimes an end, a debate has an end in mind but never gets there.

    Random Access
    The search has just begun !!!

  2. sagaro Says:

    Well, girls tend to like the barbie doll when they are young...clearly indicating something... Biological evolution...

  3. try giving a barbie/jeep to newborn girl..why dont u carry out such experiments to prove ur point?

  4. sagaro Says:

    I dont have a barbie doll... to think of it I dont even have a jeep...

  5. nickdigital Says:

    ... lol .. wat kind of experiments you want to do on a new born .. neway research has been done n lack of of interest in maths and science in girls is due to iron deficiency.

  6. Nandhu Says:

    getting intellectual, are we?

    on the blog, i mean :D

  7. Girish Says:

    whattay waste of 3 hours A!

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  9. G,

    Its better than spending 3 hrs on permutation and combinaton of probable conics!

  10. Nandhu, Nope...

    We sporadically try to be little less frivolous!!!

  11. Dei Nickdigital

    2 things: 1) its not the lack of interest per se we are talking abt..its more abilities than preferences, though both are mostly interlinked.

    2) If its just the lack of iron deficiency that ur talking abt, then it can be easily addressed by having a teaspoon of iron dates everyday..

    The point being its somewhere between being purely biological and pure extraneous

  12. Gapp - vennai its not abt u having/not having a barbie doll..we are not discussing super humans/aliens etc...purunjuda

  13. RA!!!

    Summa nachu nu sonna ma --- unending debate...or is that redundant!!

  14. sagaro Says:

    U told me to give a barbie or a jeep to a new born baby. But I dotn have one. Did that ring a bell :P

  15. shiva Says:

    Well, I agree with you, Aishwarya. It's all in the conditioning. Though biological evolution does matter. And if I say 'evolution', I would rather point towards growth stages in a woman's life, especially the emotional aspect. Rest is all conditioning aka 'how MCPs wish to translate a woman into'. Of course, saying men are far more intelligent than women is not even a contestable point. And I guess lot of people, men or women, know about this. The other reviews do seem to be tipped with venom. Perhaps they caught the whiff of feminism here.

    Have a nice day.


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