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Browsing by Subject "gender differences"

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  • Ojala, Sini (2016)
    Goals: Gender differences have been found in terms of e.g. certain abilities and interests, and working life remains partially segregated based on gender. According to the empathizing-systemizing theory, the reason for all gender differences lies in average differences in cognitive styles: women have been found to empathize more, which is useful in understanding people, while men have a stronger tendency to systemize, which means interpreting different phenomena as rule-based systems. The term "male brain type" refers to a heightened tendency to systemize, while "female brain type" means a tendency to empathize. Prior research has not addressed the people who do not fit these typical brain types: male brain type women and female brain type men. The goal of this study was to find out whether male brain type women have other qualities more typically associated with men, and whether female brain type men have other qualities typically associated with women. The qualities investigated were occupational or educational field, parents' occupational fields, school grades in physics and mathematics, hobbies, cognitive empathic ability, social connectedness, and sex role identity. Method: 3084 people participated in an online study consisting of surveys and tests. Female and male brain type groups were identified among both male and female participants. Comparisons between the groups were conducted for both genders, and the predictive values of the different qualities in terms of brain type were investigated through logistic regression analysis. Results and conclusions: Differences were found in the majority of the comparisons between the male and female brain type groups in both sexes. Female brain type men exhibited more qualities typically associated with empathizing or femininity than did male brain type men, and male brain type women exhibited more qualities typically associated with systemizing or masculinity than did female brain type women. The largest differences were seen in social connectedness and female sex role identity. The results show there are male brain type women and female brain type men, who are characterized by qualities more often associated with the opposite sex, and who have not been reached by prior research and commonly conducted comparisons between men and women. Instead of looking for average sex differences, a more fruitful direction for research may be investigating differences between the brain types.