Friday, January 25, 2008

Who's smarter? Husband or Wife?

A NewsAnchorMom reader sent me this article from Newsweek on who is smarter you or your spouse.

The Newsweek article is based on a study by a British researcher that shows a man's ego is often larger than his I.Q., but women tend to think men are smarter.

Are men smarter than women? No. But they sure think they are. An analysis of some 30 studies by British researcher Adrian Furnham, a professor of psychology at University College London, shows that men and women are fairly equal overall in terms of IQ.
But women, it seems, underestimate their own candlepower (and that of women in general), while men overestimate theirs.
Furnham talks to NEWSWEEK's Joan Raymond about his findings and why perceived IQ matters.

NEWSWEEK: Many studies show that men score slightly higher in IQ tests. Is this significant?
Adrian Furnham: Universally, men tend to score higher on certain specialized skills, such as spatial awareness. In the real world, that means they might be better at reading maps or navigating. Women score higher in terms of language development and emotional intelligence. But most experts agree there is no real, important overall difference when it comes to gender andintelligence.

NEWSWEEK:But women think they aren't as smart as men?
Adrian Furnham:That's the conundrum. What I study is "perceived intelligence," essentially how smart people think they are. I analyzed 30 international studies, and what I found was that women, across the world, tend to underplay their intelligence, while men overstate it.

NEWSWEEK:So do most men think they're Albert Einstein?
Adrian Furnham:There certainly is a greater male ego. It's what we call the male hubris and female humility effect. Men are more confident about their IQ. These studies show that on average, women underestimate their IQ scores by about five points while men overestimate their own IQs. Since these studies were international in scope, the results were essentially the same whether women were from Argentina, America, Britain, Japan or Zimbabwe. Another factor affecting perception may be distribution of IQ ... Although [men and women] are on average the same, the people at the very top and the very bottom of the IQ bell curve are more likely to be men. That is a pattern that we see in the university setting, with men either being at the very top of the class or at the bottom.

NEWSWEEK:Do women tend to think that men are smarter than they are?
Adrian Furnham:Surprisingly, [both] men and women perceive men being smarter across generations. Both sexes believe that their fathers are smarter than their mothers and grandfathers are more intelligent than their grandmothers.

NEWSWEEK:What about the kids?
Adrian Furnham:If there are children, [both] men and women think their sons are brighter than their daughters.

NEWSWEEK: So women have a self-esteem problem?
Adrian Furnham:I'm not advocating for self-esteem training and therapy. I think that many of the self-help gurus argue incorrectly that improved self-esteem increases performance. Helping people to perform better increases their self esteem. Giving a kind of carte blanche to self-esteem isn't a good idea in my mind. Rather, I think it should be that increased performance and feedback on the causes of that performance, ability or effort raises self-esteem. As I said, in primary and secondary schools, girls are outperforming boys. And where appropriate, their self-beliefs, hopefully, are increasing.

Well, I guess I'm normal because I do think my husband is smarter than me. He has the best memory of anyone I have every met. He's one of those people who rarely has to study. He just picks things up and he remembers them forever. I am always on his Trivial Pursuit team because of this.

How about you? Who's smarter in your household?

-NewsAnchorMom Jen


Maria said...

Well, in our house it depends. I think I am the smarter one when it comes to common sense and academics, but my husband has his strong points as well.

What I wonder is how much of our perceptions of ourselves and one another are based on learned behavior. I'm not talking about self-esteem per se, but rather that (for example) if a teacher sees the male students as brighter than female students and s/he fosters that in the classroom, do the students learn that men are smarter than women?


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