Trends in dating patterns and adolescent development dating 4 parents
In cognitive skills, the largest and most consistent gender differences are found in verbal, language, and certain spatial skills.For example, girls tend to produce words at an earlier age, have a larger vocabulary, and show a higher level of language complexity beginning in early childhood (Feingold, 1993; Halpern, 2000; Hyde & Linn, 1988).One comprehensive review found that of the 124 meta-analyses included (which represented over 7,000 individual research reports investigating a wide range of cognitive, social, and personality variables), 78% showed small or close-to-zero effect sizes—this indicates few statistical differences between males and females in these studies (Hyde, 2005, 2006).For some variables, context affects whether gender differences were found.Gender differences favoring boys appear at adolescence and increase during the high school years, but only in areas involving mathematics problem solving.Since the late 1970s boys have consistently scored about 10% higher than girls on the math portion of the SAT (a standardized test required by many colleges for admission).Boys are more likely to explore objects and become more independent, while girls show exploration and greater attempts to establish or maintain contact with their caregiver (e.g., not letting go of their parents, reaching for the door their parent left through, sitting at the door crying) (Mayes, Carter, & Stubbe, 1993). These two categories of behavior differ by whether they can hurt others; aggression is directed against someone or something, whereas assertiveness may be defined as speaking up for oneself, being self-confident.Beginning at an early age, boys show more physical aggression, such as hitting or kicking, than girls; this difference continues throughout childhood and into adulthood (Coie & Dodge, 1998; Hyde, 2005).
The most recent national assessment shows small differences for all grade levels (2 point differences at each grade level, out of 500 points for 4th and 8th graders and out of 300 points for 12th graders) (Byrnes, 2001; Grigg, Donahue, & Dion, 2007; Perie, Grigg, & Dion, 2005).
Similar context effects have been found for both aggressive and helping behavior (Hyde, 2005).