Men Are Smarter Than Women

Richard Lynn notes:

For not only is the average man more intelligent than the average woman but also a clear and rather startling imbalance emerges between the sexes at the high levels of intelligence that the most demanding jobs require.
For instance, at the near-genius level (an IQ of 145), brilliant men outnumber brilliant women by 8 to one. That’s statistics, not sexism.
In this context, Professor Greenfield’s indignation that only one in ten science professors is female doesn’t seem all that bad. It also goes some way to explaining why, in almost 110 years of Nobel Prize history, only two women have ever won the Prize for physics, only four have won the Prize for chemistry and why no women at all have ever won the coveted Fields Medal for mathematics in eight decades of trying.
In recent years, the forces of political correctness have made the reporting of this sort of statistic virtually impossible.
Yet as a psychologist who has dedicated his career to the study of intelligence – and, in particular, to how it differs between the sexes – I can tell you that in my academic circles these IQ figures are barely disputed.
Ever since the Frenchman Alfred Binet devised the first intelligence test in 1905, study after study has confirmed the same result. When it comes to IQ, men and women – at least once they’ve gained adulthood – simply are not equal.
Boys and girls may start out with the same IQ but by 16 or so boys are starting to inch ahead. The ever-growing success of girls at GCSE, A-level and now at university would seem to refute this – but the blame lies with our exam system, with its emphasis on coursework, which rewards diligence more than it does intelligence.
The undeniable, easily measurable fact remains that, by the time both sexes reach 21, men, on average, score five IQ points higher than women.
Before discussing how and why this might be, I ought to explain what psychologists mean by intelligence. It’s made up of a range of cognitive abilities that include reasoning, problem-solving, spatial ability, general knowledge and memory.
In all of these, men outperform women – although women hold their own when it comes to verbal reasoning and have a definite edge in foreign language skills and spelling.
We must look to the field of evolutionary psychology for an explanation of why men have emerged as the more intelligent sex.
As the hunter part of a hunter-gatherer society, men were faced with complex, life-threatening problems that needed solving on a daily basis. For example, how to kill that elusive deer?
The hunters that used all their mental capabilities to come up with the answers, successfully killing animals day after day, were clearly the most intelligent.
They were the high-status males of their day and – provocative as it is to say so – must have possessed far sharper minds than those of women engaged in the relatively simple tasks of gathering berries and raising children.
These high-status males would also have been the most eligible mates, and it would be their genes – chief among which would be those controlling male brain size – that would be passed on to the next generation.
The result is that men today still have physically bigger brains than women, even after adjustments for their different-body size. Might this underpin the five-point difference in IQ between the sexes?
Of course, in normal daily life, there’s not much real difference between a man with an IQ of 105 and a woman with an IQ of
100. The real difference only emerges as we rise up the IQ scale to the sort of level that the really top jobs require and as we drop lower down the scale – because men, as it turns out, have a much wider range of intelligence than women.
As a result, there are not only far more men with high IQs than there are women, but there are also, as I’m sure any woman would tell you, far more stupid men around than there are stupid women.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see My work has been covered in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and on 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (
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