Some things that are considered potential stereotypes, men are slightly better at math, women are better at language, also get critical examination regarding differences in cognitive abilities and what the underlying brain mechanisms might be.
Yet actual findings about beliefs like that when naming words which begin a particular letter, or words that belong to a certain category like animals or fruits, women are better have been inconsistent. Some studies find a female advantage, some find a male advantage, some do not find any advantage.
A new paper finds that women are better, the female advantage is consistent across time and life span, but it is also relatively small. It is also dependent on the sex of the researcher, so perhaps subject to investigator bias.
The meta-analysis included the combined data of all PhD theses, master theses, and studies published in scientific journals they could find. It encompassed more than 500 measures from over 350.000 participants. The researchers found that women are indeed better. The advantage is small but consistent across the last 50 years and across an individual’s lifespan.
The caveat in the accuracy is that the female advantage depends on the leading scientist: Female scientists report a larger female advantage, male scientists report a smaller female advantage.
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