This question was considered unsuitable for Skeptics and I think it is more suited to BIology than Cognitive Sciences
I was reading this article which I found interesting. It is not supported with references but was an invited address for the American Psychological Association.
It makes the claim that men go to more extremes than women.
People can point to plenty of data that the average IQ of adult men is about the same as the average for women. So to suggest that men are smarter than women is wrong. No wonder some women were offended.
There are more males than females with really low IQs. Indeed, the pattern with mental retardation is the same as with genius, namely that as you go from mild to medium to extreme, the preponderance of males gets bigger.
Almost certainly, it is something biological and genetic. And my guess is that the greater proportion of men at both extremes of the IQ distribution is part of the same pattern.
Nature rolls the dice with men more than women. Men go to extremes more than women. It’s true not just with IQ but also with other things, even height: The male distribution of height is flatter, with more really tall and really short men.
Another notable example of a similar claim was Lawrence Summer's speech regarding the possible reasons for dearth of women in tenured positions in science and engineering at top schools.
Summers outlined 3 possible reasons, with a major kerfuffle erupting - resulting in his firing from the job as a Harvard University President - over his presented second reason [ quotes from Wiki ]:
The second hypothesis, different availability of aptitude at the high end, caused the most controversy. In his discussion of this hypothesis, Summers said that "even small differences in the standard deviation [between genders] will translate into very large differences in the available pool substantially out [from the mean]
Summers referenced research that implied differences between the standard deviations of males and females in the top 5% of twelfth graders under various tests. He then went on to argue that, if this research were to be accepted, then "whatever the set of attributes... that are precisely defined to correlate with being an aeronautical engineer at MIT or being a chemist at Berkeley... are probably different in their standard deviations as well".
QUESTION: Are there any studies or evidence to support the claim that men have more extreme variations than women (in other words, that the trait's distribution in males have fatter tails) in a variety of traits?
Possible areas of research can be:
- Intelligence (general IQ or specific linguistic or spacial abilities)
- Physical attributes (strength, height, weight)
- personality traits
- for lack of anything better, let's take the FFM's Five:
In order for the answer to be "yes", the research needs to show fat tails in at least 5-6 traits from all 3 of the buckets above (intelligence, physical, and personality), although precise trait mix may be arbitrary and not necessarily limited to my examples, as long as 5-6 somewhat independent traits fit.
In order for the answer to be "no", at least 8 of the 11 traits above should have no fatter tails in men.
Anything else means "inconclusive".