I think that men and women are different mentally (but nonetheless equals), however this way of thinking is very hard for me to explain philosophically, so I'd like to learn about what roots this concept might have in science.

It seems logical that per our different roles throughout history, especially in more primitive times, men and women would have evolved different strengths in areas our brains to excel in different ways.

Have different mental strengths evolved in men and women?

Edit: By "mental strengths", more specifically I mean specific types of cognitive thought processing. Behavioral capacities, for example. Areas of our brains that function at different strengths.

  • $\begingroup$ (reading the title, I thought this post was on worldbuilding SE) $\endgroup$
    – o0'.
    Feb 23, 2015 at 13:36
  • $\begingroup$ I always found the "different but equal" concept to be very strange... Cats and dogs are different, but equally good pets? Why not state that different things are different, and then stop comparing them. Men and women are different. Done. Old and young people are different. People in past times are different from people today. OK! $\endgroup$
    – user9634
    Feb 2, 2016 at 2:27

1 Answer 1


There is little neurological evidence that finds a difference between men and women. However there are psychological studies that do find a small difference in mental strengths. This interesting TED talk debunking psychological myths by a lecturer from the University of Liverpool discusses the psychological differences between men and women.

Males and females are slightly different when it comes to spacial awareness (the top 1/3 of females perform as well as the top 1/2 of men) and language (the top 1/3 of men perform as well as the top 1/2 of women), but the difference is so slight that its not worth taking into consideration.

I moved this answer over from the biology question.

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Is there any evidence that this slight difference is evolutionary rather than cultural? $\endgroup$
    – mattdm
    Feb 23, 2015 at 6:15
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Delusions of Gender: amazon.co.uk/Delusions-Gender-Science-Behind-Differences/dp/… reports a lot of interesting research on how sensitive these differences are to perception (eg by telling students in advance that women are as good at men at mathematics, changes the performance of women on tests) so my guess is that these are likely to be cultural at least for the most part. $\endgroup$ Feb 23, 2015 at 8:17
  • $\begingroup$ @mattdm Good point. This probably comes up a lot on this site; linking cognitive ability to evolution is very difficult to evidence. $\endgroup$
    – James
    Feb 23, 2015 at 13:11

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