1.25.2008

Intellectual Self Esteem

Here's an interesting article about a study that looked at IQ, gender, and self-perception. The most aggravating point to me is not that women underestimate thier own intelligence (saw that coming), but that they underestimate each others' as well: "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." AND "If there are children, [both] men and women think their sons are brighter than their daughters." ARGH!
Obviously, this translates over into confidence, as well. The researcher points out something important about that: "Beliefs may be more important than actual ability in certain settings."

Good article, irritating reality.

12 comments:

Janiece Murphy said...

Anne, thanks for that link. It is irritating, but the information will hopefully allow people to examine their own beliefs in a more realistic way.

For myself, I find my self-confidence in my intellect to be shrinking as I get older. That may be the Mad Cow, though.

Weird, huh?

Laura said...

Really? I find it amazing that these beliefs exist. I haven't had the chance to read the article yet, but based on what you've written, it's quite irritating.

And actually, Janiece, I am finding the same thing when it comes to how I feel about my intellect. Mine is coming from the fact that I'm now playing Candy Land with my son rather than reading up on the most recent marketing strategy. I feel like I'm no longer challenging my brain. All worth it, but still difficult sometimes.

brenda013 said...

I had a mix of boys and girls as progeny. I found both girls to be awesomely intelligent. The boy was more irritating (in some ways), but certainly not any more intelligent than the girls.
Also, as I get older I feel my mind to be becoming more and more sharp. Maybe Laura is right in that one has to get past raising the babies in order to go back to intellectual stuff.
As to parents and grandparents, you need to remember that in the previous generation or so the women were obliged to act less intelligent because it was socially expected of them.

Janiece Murphy said...

Laura, unfortunately, my son will be 17 in a couple months...way past the Candy Land stage.

I think I'm taking my age and peri-menopause related short term memory loss a bit too personally.

The Grabill Family said...

Anne - yes, its all very irritating. But I agree with Janiece, that hopefully this information will allow people to examine this phenomena and how it plays out in their lives. Perhaps this study done in future generations will turn out differently.

As brenda013 (Mummy) pointed out, this study doesn't ring true for our family in the least. Thank god they brought us up to be exceptions to this study. Of course, they were such crunchy hippies, one can hardly be surprised. ;-)

belsum said...

Interesting. I'm a total elitist though, so I'm pretty sure I'm smarter than both my brother and my dad. HA!

Jeri said...

That is surprising! I've also always been fairly elitist about intellectual capacity, surrounding myself primarily with really bright and talented friends. That classification has been pretty darn gender-blind - and in fact, if I had to generalize, I'd say that bright women tend to be far more pragmatic and grounded than bright men.

I have only boys, so I don't have any basis for comparison - but I believe my expectations for willingness to *think* and for success would have been the same.

John the Scientist said...

As of now, my girl seems to be brighter than my boy language -wise. He's three, so we'll see about math, but in terms of spatial manupulation and recognition, he beats the pants off of her (classic gender differences there). But she's a whiz at calculation. I'd say overall, she has the slight edge.

In my wife's family intelligence does not seem to be related to gender, it's genetic, and everyone admits it. Her mom is logic-challenged. Her older brother is just like her mother. So is her younger sister. She has her dad's mentality (and personality), and that family held a jinshi degree in China before the 1911 Revolution, so they had some smart cookies in the family tree. (Her mom's family were farmers and miners on Taiwan many generations back). Her dad was drafted in his teens and never educated much formally, but he's smart as a tack still at 84. He would have been something good if it weren't for the war. It's scary how much he and my wife think alike. Almost as scary has how much my BIL's life is screwed up because he thinks like his mother.

Anne C. said...

Spatial manipulation and recognition, my specialty! (Well, that and pattern finding.)
I don't think I've gotten much dumber over the years, but I do know that I attach much less importance on intelligence (or rather, intelligence alone) than I did when I was younger. I think being intelligent must have been a major part of my identity before I got out into the real world, where test taking was less important and people skills or integrity or creative problem solving were more important.
I'm almost positive that things are improving, but it seems like it is very slowly.

Stacey and JR said...

I see this all the time and unfortunately is still present in the workplace. Irritating, but I tend to burn hot about it at the time and try to chalk it up to the stupidity of the one uttering the words.
Also, I think intelligence and street smarts (including socialization and tact) are not the same. However both are important.
Just because one knows many facts and figures and can calculate faster then the next, doesn't make them have ethics, personality, morals or compassion.

johnevans said...

It's been my belief for a while that there are different kinds of intelligence. So it's hard to say someone is "more intelligent" than someone else, because what kind of intelligence are you talking about? Case in point...My father is a computer programmer with a degree in math; my mother used to be an English teacher and went to college on a debate scholarship. My mother is a lot better at dealing with people than my father is; he tends to get upset with people who are stupid, for example. I take after my father more than my mother...And for that reason I tend to consider my mother smarter than just about anyone, because she's actually smart in ways that I'm not!

Anne C. said...

I agree with both of you. Intelligence is so much more than analytical thinking. The article stated IQ, which is a very specific kind of intelligence. If they measured other kinds of intelligence, they might get different results. Might. I'm inclined to think they wouldn't, because I think other intelligences are undervalued.
I think of my parents as being equally intelligent, but in completely different ways.