This is a hard question to ask without coming off as a sexist, merely via the title, so I'd like to make one thing clear right away: I understand that men and women have an identical capability of developing intelligence on perfectly equal levels. I'm not expressing that I think any one woman is any less capable of equal or greater intelligence compared to any man.

With that said, I understand that the human mind is a very dynamic tool that can be excersised and developed. Just like after never lifting a weight in my life, I wouldn't be capable of walking in and bench press 350, I can't expect to have an IQ of 130 all in a sudden after never once putting my mind to solving a tough problem.

In my life experience, I've met highly intelligent people, both men and women. However I've noticed a strong trend of women having far less interest in the very problem solving that defines one's IQ. I have put some thought into this, and after learning that men and women have identical brains for the most part, I assumed the trend must be due to hormonal differences, causing women to spend far more time on emotional thought processes rather than on problem solving.

Am I completely wrong? Partially wrong? I'm not an expert in cognitive sciences, so I ask this question with an open mind. Thanks!

Edit: This question hasn't been received well. See my comment on an answer below for a brief explanation of my thinking. Basically I'm either asking the wrong things, or in the wrong place. I'm not trying to be sexist though. I genuinely want to study the topic in order to understand, in the best interest of women, whom I find aren't engaging as much as men are in intellectual topics.

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    $\begingroup$ It would help if you were to present data, not anecdotes. For example, you could point to a (hypothetical) study according to which women have far less interest in solving problems, instead of simply reporting that your singular, biased brain has perceived thus; and then, you could ask if some hormonal difference might be the cause of this (hypothetical) scientific observation. $\endgroup$
    – jona
    Commented Feb 1, 2016 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ This is a confusing question. Whenever you use a comparison, it's helpful to specify what you're comparing to. Here, it's not clear whether you're asking if women have a lower IQ than men, or if they have a lower IQ with some hormones rather than with other hormones, or maybe you mean some other comparison. If you mean the second, it's not clear from your question why you say "in women" and why are you not interested in the effects of hormones on men's IQ as well. If it's just if there's a difference between men's and women's IQs, then that's a simpler (probably already answered) question. $\endgroup$
    – Ruth
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ After the reaction Ive gotten here, expressing this and similar questions, and seeing some things on the web I think my thoughts must be in some way mislead. I came here to figure out why all women that I meet seem to be less interested in topics of intelligence (science, engineering, philosophy) compared to men Ive met. Also, I linked this observation with others, such as the observation that we dont have a "Stephanie Jobs" or "Brenda Gates" or "Alberetta Einsten". Im observing that women int he world dont seem to be as involved intellectually as men, as a whole. However.. $\endgroup$
    – J.Todd
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 8:11
  • $\begingroup$ I do know that men and women are capable of equal intelligence, in other words, our brains are nearly identical. So Ive been trying to understand where the issue is. Why arent women getting more involved in science after the Womens Rights Movement. So Ive been looking into hormonal factors, and social factors to try to understand. My questions havent been received well, however. So... im working on figuring out if there are total flaws in my views and if so what they are. Perhaps this just simply isnt a place where such a topic can be pursued. $\endgroup$
    – J.Todd
    Commented Feb 28, 2016 at 8:13
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ This question has been asked before in other ways: cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/8583/…, cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/5559/… $\endgroup$
    – Arnon Weinberg
    Commented Feb 29, 2016 at 4:22

3 Answers 3


I don't think anybody wants to limit particular topics on here, but the point of the site is to discuss science. Science starts with empirical observation, rather than just anecdote. So the first flaw in your view seems to be that you are taking your anecdotal experience as evidence for "a trend of lower IQ in women". Many people have looked SCIENTIFICALLY at sex differences in cognitive abilities, but these tend to be small and not to include a general difference in IQ.

Later on in your question/comments, it sounds like you are more interested in "a strong trend of women having far less interest in the very problem solving that defines one's IQ". This seems to be about interest rather than ability, and note that there is a big debate about IQ tests and the things they measure (and interest in problem solving is not one). So again, there is, as far as I know, no scientific evidence of differences in this and certainly not enough to qualify as a "strong trend". For more about sex differences in cognition, see http://www.apa.org/action/resources/research-in-action/share.aspx and the references mentioned there.

Your comment that "I came here to figure out why all women that I meet seem to be less interested in topics of intelligence (science, engineering, philosophy) compared to men Ive met. " is again anecdotal and you seem to be presuming that those subjects are "topics of intelligence" more so than, say, linguistics or art. There is evidence of course for sex/gender differences in take-up of STEM careers, and if you look into this you will see that you are completely off by saying that "women aren't getting more involved in science after the Womens Rights Movement". There is a big drive to celebrate women in STEM, partly because early encouragement is thought to be a factor in what boys and girls end up studying.

Since your initial trend is not supported, it seems pointless to look for a "hormonal factor". If that is your interest you might be better off looking at differences in cognition between/within individuals with different amounts of hormones (e.g., related to the menstrual cycle). Sex hormones such as testosterone might be of interest to you (see this answer).

  • $\begingroup$ "but these tend to be small and not to include a general difference in IQ." Can you quantify this a bit? This meta-analysis reports a 5 point higher mean IQ in adult men compared to adult women, and this one a 1.4 higher standard deviation in 16 year old boys compared to 16 year old girls (up from a 0.5 difference at age 7, it's a longitudinal study). $\endgroup$
    – G. Bach
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 10:29
  • $\begingroup$ This is an old, closed study, so I don't want to reopen this in detail. $\endgroup$
    – splint
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 17:31
  • $\begingroup$ This is an old, closed topic, so I don't want to reopen this in detail. The first study you link shows a cohen's d of small to medium on a particular test, consistent with what I said. The ds in the second study you link are even smaller (and actually girls score higher in that paper at age 6 and 11). At best, this research is disputed (e.g., look at recent citations). It is not particularly relevant to the original question. $\endgroup$
    – splint
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 17:41
  • $\begingroup$ I think discussing the literature and disputes in it - I've seen more corroboration of the cited papers than evidence-based critiques - would be necessary in your answer; as it is, it doesn't reflect that there's a substantial body of evidence that does support a (quantifiably) small, but significant difference. $\endgroup$
    – G. Bach
    Commented Aug 28, 2017 at 18:19
  • $\begingroup$ Sure, if you are interested feel free to post your own answer/question. $\endgroup$
    – splint
    Commented Sep 1, 2017 at 12:24

According to the following study, the level of sex hormones do affect spatial performance: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/030645309400076X

Now if we subscribe to the premise of general intelligence (g factor, IQ) of how all the different cognitive abilities are positively and significantly correlated, then the above means that lower androgen levels cause a trend of lower IQ, in both sexes.

Since I find Assortative Mating to be valid, and the positive IQ correlalation between spouses seem to be even more important than that of some physical traits, I find the above study interesting. How can the two sexes handle a natural "by default" mismatch, if they strive to find mates with intelligence levels as similar to their own as possible?

I think your question is valid and I'm highly interested in this topic as well.


What you've ask is totally valid. what you assumed to be the cause is horribly invalid.

However I'm glad you asked, because I have a good answer for you.

First of all, women have more harmonized brain than men.neural connections are disturbed all over both hemispheres.men have single hemisphere concentrated neurons. so it is safe to say women brain is at least in a physiological way, better.

Second of all, they are really better. women can read social conditions more precise than any man and they emotionally understand better and can detect hidden deceptions in a better way and at the same time, they are as much competent in intellectual efforts as men.

Third of all, the only reason some women are less into computational or scientific problem is sexist people in society.and these sexist people are both male and female parent. according to Freud's theory of psycho-sexual development, the stage that kid plays with certain parts of their body is essential in developing a sense of curiosity. I don't know about the place you live, but in my culture boys play with their genitalia freely and no one cares, but if a girl do that, they will bring the hell down on earth. so it is product of this manner, leads to suppression of sense of curiosity in a baby girl and later in adulthood as a woman.


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