ARE WOMEN LESS CAPABLE AS RESULT OF DIFFERENCES?
It is important to note that no study has surfaced that shows men and women responding the same way emotionally. The only differences have been the reasons scientists and social scientists give for the discrepancies.
Does this mean that women are less capable than men in handling certain types of stress or in performing some jobs? Again, the answer depends upon whom you ask.
Unsurprisingly, feminist social scientists tend to say women are not inherently hindered by their emotionality, because it is socialized and can be overcome. The study conducted by the four psychologists listed above concludes that “women’s ‘greater emotionality’ is a culturally constructed idea, based on observed differences in emotional expression—differences which are socialized from a very early age,” and say that observations in their own studies ought to be discounted because of this, because they “may provide a skewed picture of the emotional life of a person—a picture skewed in the direction of supporting gender-based stereotypes about emotion.”
Studies of brains themselves, meanwhile, suggest that differences in emotional response are biologically based, but that they likely pose no significant risk of women being incapable of responses that are equally intelligent and reasonable as those of men.
Neurobiological research out of the University of New Mexico and the University of California, Irvine concludes that men have nearly 6.5 times more gray matter related to general intelligence than women, but that women have nearly 10 times more white matter related to intelligence than men, according to the journal Live Science.
The lead author of that study, Richard Haier of UC Irvine, said, “These findings suggest that human evolution has created two different types of brains designed for equally intelligent behavior.”
WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US?
While the jury is still out about women’s emotionality, and while the arguments rage on, it is probably safe to conclude the following: Studies show that women react more emotionally than men, but social scientists and neurobiologists disagree about the reasons. Regardless of the reasons, most social scientists and neurobiologists tend to agree that in spite of the differences in how men and women process and react to information—and regardless of the reasons for this—neither gender is better, more capable or more intelligent because of it.