Monday, May 19, 2008

What are men good for?   posted by agnostic @ 5/19/2008 12:33:00 AM

I came across an interesting 2007 talk that social psychologist Roy Baumeister gave to the American Psychological Association, "Is There Anything Good About Men?" He informally reviews the literature on sex differences in ability and motivation. Some of it will be old news for readers, such as the discussion of Larry Summers, but there's quite a lot that will not. Some interesting tidbits:

- Most people in the West now believe that women possess more desirable qualities than men do. (Agreed -- I only interact with males as colleagues, keeping all of my friends female.)

- Women are more likely than men to commit violence against an intimate partner.

- About 80% of those who work 50-hour weeks are men.

- 93% of those killed on the job in the US are men.

- Men appear more oriented toward large-scale social groups where relationships are shallow but many, women toward small-scale groups where they are deep but few. Baumeister suggests that this is a key source of male-female inequality after the transition to agriculture: men were more suited to the large-scale networks that came to run social, political, and economic life.

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