|MadSci Network: Genetics|
It is very difficult to answer this question without some idea of the reaction task you have in mind. For instance it is accepted that females are, in general, faster at verbal processing than males – their language area in the brain develops earlier – and males are, in general, faster at spatial awareness tasks than females. So if your task involved reading a question and answering it out loud, on average, girls would be faster than boys, but if your task involved pressing the correct light in a display of lights then boys, on average, would be faster than girls. However, there is a wide range within each gender so there is a big overlap on most reaction tasks. You will get girls who are faster than most men on spatial or mathematical tasks and boys who are faster than most girls on verbal tasks. In a recent study by Versavel_M, vanLaack_D, Evertz_C, Meier_F, and Kuhlmann_J in 1996 in Germany to set baselines for a whole variety of tests for drug-free healthy young people they found the only gender differences amongst tests of simple reaction time, complex reaction time, vigilance, concentration, motor coordination, short-term memory (word pairs or figures) and abstract language-free reasoning were in concentration and co-ordination. Females were slower in the coordination test and made fewer correct solutions in the concentration test.
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Genetics.