MadSci Network: Genetics

Re: Is there any link between gender and the rate in which they react?

Date: Thu Apr 13 05:42:51 2000
Posted By: Jocelyn Wishart, Lecturer, Education, Loughborough University
Area of science: Genetics
ID: 954808853.Ge

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.

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