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Cognitive Sex Differences in Brazil

Carmen Flores-Mendoza, Marcela Darley and Heitor B.F. Fernandes


Published: 2016/09/01


Considerable data are available about sex differences in intelligence, both at the general (more latent) and the specific (more explicit) levels, in children, adolescents, and adults. However, only a small proportion comes from developing countries, where socio-political conditions and patterns of sexual inequality differ markedly from those observed in developed countries. Comparing sex differences data in intelligence between cultures with contrasting socio-political backgrounds permits examining whether biological factors are behind such sex differences. In an effort towards addressing this, we reviewed and compiled intelligence data from Brazil, and found evidence for a male advantage in adulthood in most dimensions of intelligence. We then analyzed new adult data on three unidimensional IQ tests for the measurement of general intelligence (the g factor), and found evidence of a male advantage in two, but a female advantage in the third. However, scores on two tests appeared to be highly confounded with education level, and once this variable was controlled, the female advantage in one test and the male advantage in another were not noticeable.. In general, our results were mostly in line with the male advantage hypothesis, although this did not appear to be uniformly consistent or of high magnitude in Brazil. Societal implications are discussed. Key words: Intelligence, Sex differences, APM, Progressive Matrices, Brazil.

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