Sex Differences in Intrinsic Aptitude for Mathematics and Science?

This article considers 3 claims that cognitive sex differ- ences account for the differential representation of men and women in high-level careers in mathematics and sci- ence: (a) males are more focused on objects from the beginning of life and therefore are predisposed to better learning about mechanical systems; (b) males have a pro- file of spatial and numerical abilities producing greater aptitude for mathematics; and (c) males are more variable in their cognitive abilities and therefore predominate at the upper reaches of mathematical talent. Research on cogni- tive development in human infants, preschool children, and students at all levels fails to support these claims. Instead, it provides evidence that mathematical and scientific rea- soning develop from a set of biologically based cognitive capacities that males and females share. These capacities lead men and women to develop equal talent for mathe- matics and science.
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