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mattbrowne's avatar

Always online and staying connected - What do you think about the claim that this makes men dumber than women?

Asked by mattbrowne (31557points) January 27th, 2013

I found this claim in the following book I’m reading right now: ‘Your Brain at Work’ by David Rock and I quote:

“A study done at the University of London found that constant emailing and text-messaging reduces mental capability by an average of 10 points on an IQ test. It was five points for women, and fifteen points for men. This effect is similar to missing a night’s sleep. For men, it’s around three times more than the effect of smoking cannabis. While this fact might make an interesting dinner party topic, it’s really not that amusing that one of the most common productivity tools can make one as dumb as a stoner. This always on, anywhere, anytime, anyplace era has created an artificial sense of constant crisis. What happens to mammals in a state of constant crisis is the adrenalized fight or flight mechanism kicks in. It’s great when tigers are chasing us. How many of those five hundred emails a day is a tiger?”.

Could this be one of the factors explaining why girls outperform boys in school?

“The Daily Mail reported that for the first time in recent history, women are scoring higher on these intelligence tests than men, according to data gathered by James Flynn, an emeritus professor of Political Studies at the University of Otago in New Zealand. Flynn has been studying patterns in IQ test results for years and is a recognized authority on the tests.

In his most recent research, Flynn looked at scores from across Western Europe, North America, Australia, New Zealand, Estonia and Argentina. He found that when modern IQ testing began in 1905, women trailed men by up to five points. But over time, that gap has virtually disappeared, and in some countries, women are now scoring better on these tests than men are. Flynn said that the increasingly complicated nature of our society accounts for the changes in these scores, but that more research is needed to make any definitive claims.”

Blame it on computers and smart phones that never get switched off?

Rather smoking a joint than answering emails?

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16 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I’m not surprised.

bookish1's avatar

-I don’t trust ‘authorities’ on IQ.
-Correlation is not causation, but it might as well be for many scholars, especially those who do popular science studies that get reported in the news.
-The access women have to education and expectations for women’s education have changed greatly around the world since 1905.

Shippy's avatar

IQ Tests can be very none subjective in content. Also culturally influenced, plus biased underlined. I score retarded on tests no nasty comments.

Shippy's avatar

I meant non objective

bookish1's avatar

^Strewth. IQ tests were designed to measure a very specific set of traits that scientists considered ‘intelligent.’ Which often meant that people who were not the target population of this test (poor people, non-whites, women) would score lower. There’s all kinds of intelligence, and IQ tests don’t really allow for this.

Shippy's avatar

yes what @bookish1 said, so well

wundayatta's avatar

Dumb is as dumb does.

I have no idea what IQ tests actually measure. Maybe they measure your ability to focus. But whatever they measure, I don’t think it is intelligence.

Are men dumber than women? Absolutely. No question about it. That’s why I prefer women. I just feel lucky that women like me. And when you think about it, they can’t be all that smart if they think I’m smart. So lets just call it a draw, and go make whoopie.

Unbroken's avatar

As stated intelligence is subjective.

The tests have changed over the years as has the education of women. Could there be a bias involved.

However I find maturity to be lacking in the male gender over female generally speaking.

mattbrowne's avatar

Even if it’s subjective, does this mean we can ignore the dropping?

wundayatta's avatar

Dropping what?

mattbrowne's avatar

Dropping our IQ.

Unbroken's avatar

I don’t actually know if the tests have changed over time. Knowledge cultural cutting edge and the fundamentals have evolved. So it would make sense that the test should also evolve.

Now how to change the tests to continue their relevance but not effect change either positive or negative in the results?

mattbrowne's avatar

@wundayatta – The point is, even if all the tests are somewhat flawed, if you apply the same test several times and online behavior does have an influence…

tinyfaery's avatar

I know plenty of intelligent stoners and a lot of so called intelligent people who are luddites.

It would seem to me that during the last century opportunities for women in education and work have increased and the result should be a higher IQ. Plus, women tend to be more social and on average are better at gathering information through relationships. Maybe the social aspect of “being connected” is not as damaging (if it is at all) to the intellect of women because women are better at learning socially than men tend to be.

wundayatta's avatar

Tests are changing over time. For example, the SAT now has a writing component. This will be to the advantage of women, who seem to do better, on average with writing than men do. In addiction, women are now doing better on the math components of tests. Perhaps, not coincidentally, the education community has decided that word problems are the way to go. Perhaps this makes it easier for girls and harder for boys.

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