Emergent Themes in the Development of
Sex Differences in Cognition
Ann McGillicuddy-De Lisi
Richard De Lisi
In the introduction to this book, Halpern and Ikier presented some of the overarching issues in the study of cognitive sex differences. These included the question of whether we should study sex differences at all; cautionary notes on issues such as effect sizes, the context of differences, inferences based on correlational data, principles of research design, and their relationship to inferences drawn from data under various conditions; and the need for a psychobiosocial framework. The authors of the chapters that followed discussed theories, reviewed research, and presented recent data that were connected to those issues in significant ways. In this final chapter, we pick up some of the threads of Halpern and Ikier's overview and weave the many different findings and viewpoints into a tapestry that represents current knowledge of the development of sex differences in cognition.
The analyses of sex differences in the domains of language, spatial ability, mathematics performance, and social cognition presented in this book revealed that there has been and continues to be a great deal of research and interest in these areas. At the same time, the causes, developmental trajectories, and implications for functioning in everyday life are multifaceted, complex, and not fully understood. A consistent pattern of development of sex differences has not been