. "Section 2--Selected Workshop Papers." Biological, Social, and Organizational Components of Success for Women in Academic Science and Engineering: Workshop Report. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2006.
Females and males are both similar and different in their cognitiveperformance. There is no evidence to support claims for a smarter sex.Males and females have different average scores on different cognitivemeasures; some show an advantage for females and others show anadvantage for males. Females are achieving at higher rates in school atall levels and in all subjects, including subjects in which they obtainlower scores on aptitude/ability tests (e.g., advanced mathematics). Although there is much overlap in the female and male distributions, onaverage, females excel on many memory tasks including memory forobjects and location, episodic memory, reading literacy, speech fluency,and writing. Males excel at visuospatial transformations, especiallymental rotation, science achievement, mathematics tests that are not tiedto a specified curriculum (possibly due to use of novel visuospatial representations and transformations), and males are more variable on manycognitive tests. A biopsychosocial model that recognizes the reciprocalrelationships among many types of variables is used as an explanatoryframework.
There have been remarkable changes in the lives of women and men in the blink of history that was the 20th century. College enrollments went from consisting largely of men from the privileged classes near the start of the 20th century to men from all socioeconomic classes and literally, all stripes, as they returned from World War II near mid-century. College enrollments for women at the same time consisted mostly of women of privilege, or exceptional talent, or high moti-
Paper presented at the National Academies Convocation on Maximizing the Success of Women in Science and Engineering: Biological, Social, and Organizational Components of Success, held December 9, 2005 in Washington, DC.Some authors prefer to use the term “gender” when referring to female and male differences that are social in origin and “sex” when referring to differences that are biological in origin. In keeping with the biopsychsocial model that is advocated in this paper and the belief that these two types of influences are interdependent and cannot be separated, only one term is used in this chapter. “Sex” is used without reference to the origin of any observed differences or similarities and is not meant to imply a preference for biological explanations. These terms are often used inconsistently in the literature.