A research assistant at Michigan State University, Randal Olson, analyzes interesting data as a hobby. This week he made a visualization of a recent survey from the Educational Testing Service (the people who make things like the SATs and GRE) that reported the average IQ of college majors based on the tests they’ve administered. The interesting thing happened when these findings were charted not only with IQ by major, but also how female dominated that major is.
Why are female dominated majors also the ones with the lowest average IQ? Men don’t have a higher average IQ than women, so it’s not that. Olson postulates this may be because the way IQ is estimated from SAT scores undervalues verbal SAT scores, which women typically score better on. Another theory is that since more women than men attend college, the men who do attend are more intelligent on average.
I think it isn’t that women are dumber or inherently less deserving than men, it’s that for whatever reason — different priorities, social pressure, lack of encouragement, lack of self-efficacy — they go after arduous goals in smaller numbers and more achievable goals in large numbers. What are your theories? I’m interested to see if this will shift in another generation or two and we’ll see this chart even out.