Males, Females, and Behavior: Toward Biological Understanding

By Lee Ellis; Linda Ebertz | Go to book overview

Chapter 11
Gender-Related Individual Differences and National Merit Test Performance: Girls Who Are "Masculine" and Boys Who Are "Feminine" Tend to Do Better

Richard Lippa

In a classic monograph on sex differences in cognitive abilities, Eleanor Maccoby ( 1966) summarized evidence suggesting that "analytic thinking, creativity, and high general intelligence are associated with cross-sex-typing, in that the men and boys who score high are more feminine, and the women and girls more masculine, than their low-scoring same-sex counterparts" (p. 35). Maccoby noted that, though the evidence for this proposition was stronger and more consistent for girls and women than for boys and men, there were still "few exceptions in the literature to this generalization."

Signorella and Jamison ( 1986) conducted a meta-analysis of seventy-three studies investigating links between the masculinity and femininity of individuals' self-concept and their cognitive abilities. They found evidence for a number of significant links between masculinity and femininity and specific cognitive abilities. For example, girls and women who were more masculine in self-concept performed better on spatial perception tests than those who were less masculine. Though the findings were weaker for boys, there was a tendency for boys with feminine self-concepts to perform better on spatial perception tests than boys with more masculine self-concepts. Similarly, among adolescents, mathematical ability was associated with more masculine selfconcepts for girls and with more feminine self-concepts for boys. In general, Signorella and Jamison found that cognitive abilities tended to show stronger relationships with bipolar masculinity-femininity than with unidimensional masculinity (i.e., masculine instrumentality) or femininity (i.e., feminine ex-

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