Mr. Personality

A personality expert talks character and destiny.

IQ and the sexes: Controversy or fact?

Are men really smarter than women?

For many years (serious) psychologists have known that IQ is the best single predictor of educational achievement. Although IQ tests seem really abstract and unlrelated to real matters (and those issues that matter to all of us in everyday life), in reality they DO matter because they predict how fast and well people can solve new problems and learn new things. Of course, learning ABILITY is not everything because you can be able but lazy or less able but hard working.

Yet the data are conclusive and people who score high on IQ tests end up getting more prestigious, intellectual, financially rewarding, jobs, as well as living longer and healthier lives (though they may not end up being happier - that is another story).

That in itself is not that hard to digest for the average layperson, but the fact that there may be SEX DIFFERENCES IN INTELLIGENCE has alarmed and confused people unless they are self-proclaimed sexists (or obviously sexist to the eyes of others). What does the evidence suggest?

Well, for spatial ability tests the effect in favour of males is clear and has been replicated in hundreds of studies (men are also better at map reading and this has been linked to testosterone differences).

Find a Therapist

Search for a mental health professional near you.

The answer to the question of whether men or women are brighter when it comes to OTHER domains of ability remains inconclusive... and somewhat pointless really - because even if there is a difference, that difference cannot fully explain sex differences in job success (why women are under-represented in so many prestigious, demanding, and arguably "cerebral" jobs).

What about your own IQ?

Here you will find two quick reliable and valid measures of verbal and numerical ability - in theory, if you are a man, you will do better in the numerical test, whereas women should do better in the verbal test (of course some men are more femenine than certain women and vice-versa, but that is another story, too).

So, find out for yourself:

The test will give you instant feedback on your performance!

Meanwhile... let the battle of the sexes continue!


Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Ph.D., is a Professor of Business Psychology at UCL and NYU. He studies online dating, entrepreneurship, and consumer preferences. more...

Subscribe to Mr. Personality

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.