Gender differences in math abilities

This is an interesting study about whether there are differences between men's and women's abilities in math.

The researchers first asked the participants (college students) a question, then they took he Vandenberg Mental Rotation Test, a standard test of visual-spatial ability.

One group was first asked whether they lived in a single-sex or co-ed dorm. That subtly triggers a person to think about their gender. Men in this group did 25 percent to 30 percent better than the women.

In the control group, the students were first asked about how it is to live in Northeastern United States. The results of the visual-spatial test were familiar: men performing 15-20 percent better. (That is the typical result whenever this test is given to men and women.)

BUT the surprise came in the group where students were first subtly made to think about their strengths. They were first asked about why they chose to attend a private liberal arts college.

In this group, there were no significant differences between men and women in the Vandenberg Mental Rotation Test!

Very interesting indeed.

The study was conducted by University of Texas psychologist Matthew S. McGlone and Joshua Aronson of New York University.

Read more details of the study here.


MV said…
I believe that there cannot be any difference in ability (in maths or physics or whatever) because of gender diffrence. Because of the difference in constraints, men and women are subjected to, may affect the performance of women.
JoVE said…
That is a really interesting study design. thanks for bringing that to our attention.

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