Women Turning Smarter, Faster Than Men: Study Says

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By Indrani Bhattacharyya | July 30, 2014 11:35 AM EST

Women are outsmarting men in certain aspects while catching up in others.

Based on a recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, it is believed that the gap in cognitive gender differences is going away with time. Even though it won’t be possible to eliminate the gap completely, the change has started.

Reuters
Students hold on to the side steel bars of a collapsed bridge as they cross a river to get to school at Sanghiang Tanjung village in Lebak regency, Indonesia's Banten village, January 19, 2012.

“According to the report by Live Science, the new findings corroborate previous studies that show men tend to have a greater grasp of numeracy while women tend to do better on tasks associated with episodic memory, as well as intuitive and analytical thinking When living conditions increase over time, so do cognitive abilities both for men and women, and that has been shown previously. But we show that women’s cognitive abilities increase more than men’s, said Herlitz, a psychologist at the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden.”

In order to carry out this research, researchers asked 31,000 Europeans who were over 50 to answer a series of questions to evaluate their numeracy (basic math problems), category fluency (name as many animals as possible) and episodic memory (memorise a list of 10 words).

 It was found that there was improvement amongst every group over time but with women the gains were dramatic.

“As Live Science explains, the reason for the shift in gains is probably because of cultural change”.

Culture is known to play a significant role in creating differences, as far as cognition is concerned. Educational opportunities for women have been lesser since ages but even when equal opportunities are present, women may have to deal with many negative stereotypes.

One such example includes the observation that, teachers usually underrate women’s math skills, reported a study in 2012 which appeared in the journal Gender & Society.

The present results suggest that improved living conditions have benefited women more than men.

One day, probably it will be possible for women to come back with an equal identity.

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(Photo: Reuters / Beawiharta)
Students hold on to the side steel bars of a collapsed bridge as they cross a river to get to school at Sanghiang Tanjung village in Lebak regency, Indonesia's Banten village, January 19, 2012.
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