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Research Doesn’t Support the Saying “Men Will Be Men”

Summary: Research reveals that there aren’t that many “girly” or “boyfriends”.

Source: University of Helsinki

A research article published in the journal European Journal of Personality It shows that boys and girls who are girls and boys in one particular area, such as grades, are not on average more in another area, such as personality.

It investigated gender differences in employment, personality, values, school grades, cognitive ability, and educational status among Finnish adolescents who completed their basic education.

“As a rule, there were no prototype masculine boys or girls. For example, men who were very childish in personality were also not more likely to be very childish in terms of their values, school grades, educational background, or cognitive profile,” says Ville Ilmarinen, Postdoctoral Researcher at the Swedish School of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki.

“At the individual level, some men will be very childish in more than one way, but there are no general population-level trends to give credence to the ‘men will be boys’ statement. Men can be very childish in certain areas, such as grades, but not so much in other areas, such as personality, values, or cognitive performance. Also, there are a lot of boys whose grades aren’t particularly childish.”

The gender identification approach was used to determine the boy and girl childhood of different domains.

Gender is most clearly seen in grades

The biggest gender difference was seen in school leaving grades. Based on the ratings, it was possible to predict the gender of individuals with 77.5% accuracy. Just guessing gives only a 50% probability.

In other areas, the predictive power was 60-70%. The descending order of accuracy was: personality, values, electives, cognitive ability, and secondary education practices.

“We also found that there is greater variation in how boyish or girly the boys’ values, cognitive abilities, and grades are. This means that two randomly selected boys will be more different in how masculine they are in those areas, and to the extent that two randomly selected girls are girlish. means it’s more similar,” says Ilmarinen.

The findings show that the areas or areas one explores are important when making inferences about femininity and masculinity because they are largely specific to individual areas.

“At the same time, it was illuminating to see that the biggest gender differences were in class profiles, not personality or cognitive ability.”

The results show that the average girl and average boy take quite different paths in comprehensive school, at least on the basis of their grades. However, as in every field, there were tomboyish girls and girlish boys in this area as well.

Extensive data made possible various examinations of gender differences

Previously, femininity and masculinity in various fields had not been explored much. There was now a dataset well-suited to such a study.

“This study included measures from different areas of life and included a large and representative sample at key stages of life,” says Ilmarinen.

This shows pink and blue toy bunnies
The gender identification approach was used to determine the boy and girl childhood of different domains. image public domain

The sample comprised just over 4,000 adolescents who had completed their basic education in a large Finnish city. Their personalities and values ​​were measured and subjected to a battery of cognitive tests consisting of nine separate tests.

In addition, data were obtained on their grades (school leaving certificate for basic education), elective courses in secondary school, and applications for high school.

“Our results can contribute to the debate about the sexism of educational pathways, as well as to the more general discussion of what is considered gender normative and non-normative”

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This is a cartoon of a woman and a robot.

The study also aims to develop methods for both calculating femininity-masculinity correlations and integrating them into gender differences research. The gender identification approach has been updated to use predictive methods based on machine learning.

About this developmental neuroscience research news

Writer: Christa Machine
Source: University of Helsinki
Communication: Christa Mäkinen – University of Helsinki
Picture: image public domain

Original research: Closed access.
Does gender have a g factor? Using a Continuous Gender Measure to Evaluate Gender Differences in Personality, Values, Cognitive Ability, School Grades, and EducationVille Ilmarinen et al. European Journal of Personality


Abstract

Does gender have a g factor? Using a Continuous Gender Measure to Evaluate Gender Differences in Personality, Values, Cognitive Ability, School Grades, and Education

Some of the most recurring research questions pertain to gender differences. Despite much progress, limited research has so far been conducted to explore whether there is a general gender construct that runs through various domains of human individuality.

To determine whether being gender typical on one side and being gender typical on the other hand correlates with being gender typical on the other hand, we investigated 16-year-old Finnish girls and boys (N = 4106) differ in their personalities, values, cognitive abilities, academic achievements, and educational backgrounds. To do this, we updated the predictive gender identification approach with cross-validation methods for more accurate prediction.

Pre-registered analysis shows that gender differences vary between domains (Dn = 0.15–1.48), detailed measures such as class profiles may be accurate in predicting gender (77.5%), whereas some summary indices, such as general cognitive ability, do not outperform chance (52.4%), and correlations for sexism, although positive , very weak (mean partial correlation, r´ = .09, range .03–.34) to support a general factor of sexism.

Our more descriptive analyzes show that a greater focus on gender typicality can offer important insights into the role gender plays in shaping people’s lives.

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