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Brain Sex

Started by Xepher, January 03, 2007, 11:52:52 PM

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Was reading up on my science news, and came across a link I had seen a while back, but forgotten about. It was an online survey/test run by the BBC that claims to measure "Brain Sex ID" that is, if your mental abilities and thoughts are more aligned with typical male or female modes. It takes a bit to run through, but some of the tests are kind of interesting.

I ended up with a score of 50% female... which is the average score for females taking the test. Only problem is, I'm male. :-)

EDIT: Actually, went back and looked at results, was closer to 30% female

I actually had to do some research in college on the subject of gender difference for a class. My team ended up studying mental difference, and there's a great book called "Brain Sex" that talks about a lot of the ideas used in that test. I've also looked at a lot of other material on the subject, and found a lot of things in that test to be either ridiculous, or not very scientific. Some of the things -- like the "fact" that women use significantly more words during an average day than men -- is almost laughed at in most scientific circles. The individual components do a good job of at least telling you if you're good at that specific task, even though I might take issue with the assumption that being good or bad at such a thing is really gender related. Anyway, my point is don't take it personally if comes out different than what you expect.

Another related thing I found was the "Gender Genie" which uses statistics to determine if the author of a given chunk of text is male or female.

I tossed a lot of my stories and other writing at it, and found it pretty much said what I expected. Stories that I wrote which were focused on emotional issues and character growth ended up being guessed as a female author. On the other hand, hard sci-fi stories where I'm writing more action and such ended up male. Likewise, the journal entries I wrote are slightly on the male side, being written in my "normal" voice. Stories where I have a female narrator or strong-view protagonist tended to the female side. As a writer, it's nice to know that I can apparently switch modes without really even thinking about it. On the other hand, I always tend to be right down the middle on various tests like these, with either a balanced score, or flip-flopping between opposites regularly. It makes me question the validity of such measurements. That is to say, am I just unusually well balanced (aka "in touch with my feminine side") or are most modern people like me, and these tests just poorly structured and looking for throwbacks to previous eras where women were extremely sensitive and men were extremely thick headed?

The best example of what I consider poor scientific methods is the "Systemizing vs. Empathizing" test on the BBC thing... I got 19 of 20 on both, scoring higher than most women on empathy AND higher than most men on systemizing. Yet it gives me a female score for that test, simply because men usually get 16 of 20 on system, but women only get 14 of 20 on empathy. As such, I'm 5 points higher than the average woman, and only 3 points higher than the average man, despite being equally good at both. There are several other tests that also only seem accurate if both men and women score equally far apart, yet when you see the average results at the end of the test, the women don't score nearly as female as the test claims they should, and likewise, the male average is a lot better at the "female" tasks than the test designers think it should be.

Anyway, sorry if this is getting long winded. It's just an interesting area of science to me, and I tend to get carried away talking about those.


I got the average 50 score for men :.
Pizza party! Pizza for everyone!....who has money?


I'll take this test later... I may end up as Androgynous... which was my BEM test result..


I took the BBC test and wound up 50/50.  I did get perfect on the block rotations though, which made me happy because back when I thought I wanted to be an architect, I liked to rotate the building designs in my head.  But yeah, the idea that women use more words than men per day...I dunno.  Maybe I just hear a lot of dumb people because with the conversations riddled with "like" surely don't produce a ton of extra words.  And I do fairly well on reading emotions...I got one or two of the eyes one wrong.

For the Gender Genie, I cut and past some stuff from my website and wound up a male.  Not quite sure why "the" turns up as a masculine word.
"You can get all A's and still flunk life." (Walker Percy)



The writing analyzer is purely statistical from what I understand. They ran thousands of things through a computer, and the computer looked at EVERY word, and the words most likely to give you accurate results of male or female were the ones that script looks at. It's not that "the" is a masculine word, but rather that guys tend to use it more often.

On the whole, I get the idea that the BBC thing is more of an IQ/knowledge than an ID test. That is, everything I see suggests to me that smart people are more homogeneous than dumb/ignorant people. The smarter you get, the less likely you fall into traditional stereotypes, be they racial or gender based. Take guys vs. girls. All the really "manly men" I know are not exactly what I'd call bright. Likewise, all the "girly girls" I see usually couldn't do a math problem to save their life. However, when you get up into the realm of smart people you find that the guys also read french poetry, and listen to other people's problems and emotions. Smart girls end up pretty good at math and science too, usually on par with the guys, but aren't lose some of that girly concern with gossip and vanity.

Try the racial thing too. Dumb white guys are the ones that end up in trailer parks and on COPS in their underwear for beating their kids. Dumb black kids are the ones that end up with vocabularies composed mostly of made up words and cussing. I'll bet you could create a writing analyzer that would be a hundred times more accurate at picking out trailer trash honkeys and ghetto grinding gangstas than this one is at distinguishing male and female. However, you get up into the realm of particle physics, and I'll bet you no one can distinguish the paper from the black guy or the white guy... or from the guy or the girl. The smarter and more educated (not just in the traditional sense) someone is, the more likely they are to not fit in a classic pigeonhole. Intelligence and experience brings people together, and you get a much more homogeneous group. Ignorance (and the fear of others that comes from it) keeps groups of people to themselves, segregating them into easily distinguished stereotypes.

Anyway, not sure how elitist I come across there, but I hope I don't offend anyone. I'm pretty confident everyone around here is falling more under my definition of smart than anything else anyway. :-)


Just to demonstrate the "there's always an exception," I'm an asian female tomboy who sucks at math.  I can do enough for every day tasks, but I am never going to be able to do more than that.  x.x

While I was taking the BBC test, I wondered if it was more of a generational thing.  But that might be because after being at home with the parents for more than a few days, the generational differences are extremely clear.
"You can get all A's and still flunk life." (Walker Percy)


Aw, Xeph thinks we're all smart. ;)

I scored dismally low on the empathy part of the BBC quiz, but I got 11 out of 12 on the 3D shapes, totalling in on a 50 in the male area of the scale. Apparently I could never be a girly girl. XD

The gender genie managed to guess my gender, at least...

To be honest, though, I hate it when anything is categorized using male vs. female. It is more likely than no extremely biased and based on little more than common stereotypes of whatever culture made it up. Women are emotional and unpredictable, men are logical and completely lost when it comes to emotion. Me personally I'm a cynical, logically-inclined little thing, and people (specifically other women) are always so shocked when I don't "understand what they're going through" or would rather talk about the technical aspects and entertainment value of the latest video games than what fashions are in and who's dating who. Then when I ask why they're so interested in that stuff, 90% of the time they answer something similar to "well, that's what girls DO, duh. Go be contrary to our standards somewhere else, mmmmmkay?" :P except not in so many words, and usually with a couple of "like"s thrown in.

Sadly I'm not "manly" enough to hang out with the boys, either. Too emotional for the guys, not emotional enough for the girls. Alas! I am genderless, so it seems. :P

Then again, I hate stereotypes in general. That's a whole 'nother rant, but seriously. HATE.

Love IQ quizzes though. :)
I don't hate everyone, I'm just very, very disappointed in them.


I won't take tests like this because I believe them to be inaccurate at most. It's the same concept as an IQ test, in which I don't think that any amount of "testing" can profile a person. It's much easier to get a feel for a person from a person, not a machine. ;-)
(\_/)    ~Relakuyae D'Selemae
(")_(")  [Libre Office] [Chrome]


welp, the genie seems to guess my gender just fine.'s kind of odd the words they search for, though.
"Not even the Human can stop me now..."