It’s an age old question. The battle of the sexes is forever ongoing, and we have yet to find an answer to it. Do men trump the mind of a woman, or do the ladies have the edge? Men have been found to have a higher brain volume to women, but does that score them a victory? We’re here to figure out the answer – who is smarter men or women?
Well, it depends what you mean by smarter…
There are, of course, different types of intelligence. It’s always been said that women have better emotional intelligence – the ability to process feelings and act accordingly. Women are much more open about their emotions too, which contributes to their ability to know how to respond.
In recent years, women have also been found to have larger cortices than men. It’s hard to know if this is significant, but those with a thicker cortices in their brain often perform better in cognitive tasks. The cerebral cortex is also associated with an ability to tackle language better, meaning women may be more naturally bilingual, and in general, have a better grasp of their first language. It also aids better concentration, memory and perception, which is perhaps why women often perform better at school. Better perception also means they have more of a sense of how to address issues that surround them.
It may seem from this evidence that women have the upper hand, but there is one area of intelligence where men score higher. Men, according to studies, are often better at self-managing their emotions after they become aware of them. It is thought that these factors are influenced by upbringing – men are taught to remain strong, whereas there is less pressure for women to keep their emotions in check. So this begs the question again – who is smarter men or women?
It also depends who you’re comparing…
The saying goes that you can’t judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree. If you compare a woman who is a scientist to a woman who composes classical music, you’ll find two very intelligent, but very different minds at work. The thing is, it’s difficult to compare simply based on gender. There are far too many factors to consider for it to be a fair test. You’re very unlikely to be able to match two people of any gender based on simple personality and receive fair results.
What influence does education have?
If we were to compare a man and a woman who were virtually identical in personality, there are other things to consider. What education did the person receive? Did they receive a specialist education, or a limited one? How much prior knowledge can aid them if the two people were presented with a problem to solve?
Physical factors on any given day can affect intelligence…
Say you’ve just been on a night out. You drank too much, you have a splitting headache and you’re exhausted. You drink a coffee to perk you up, but now you’re fidgety and still pretty rough. Now imagine someone placed and IQ test in front of you. This may be an extreme example, but circumstances on any given day may effect your intelligence, or even just your ability to concentrate. If you’ve had bad news one day, you might perform worse at a task. It all depends.
Who is smarter men or women? The truth is, we don’t know.
It’s a question we can never really answer. The thing is, both men and women are pretty kick ass. We’ll always be comparing ourselves to each other, but that’s not limited just to gender – we compare ourselves on looks, on physical ability, and many other factors. The best way to think of it is we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and there are too many factors at play to figure out what that means.