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Re: [evol-psych] Re: Sex Differences in Intelligence, Science, & Work Performance

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  • Leif Ekblad
    ... I think this reasoning leaves more questions than it answers. Why would ADHD females not have evolved similar mulitasking abilities if this was generally
    Message 1 of 14 , Sep 30, 2006
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      roger masters:
      > Hubey's two postings -- on multitasking and gender
      > differences in intelligence - are both VERY IMPORTANT.
      > However, they are probably about the SAME phenomenon.
      > Women have evolved greater abilities of multitasking than males.
      > Several hints in the postings concern the selective pressures that
      > produced this difference. In the hunter gatherer band, women must
      > care for young offspring at the home-site (along with other tasks)
      > while adult males engage in the hunt. The perceptual and cognitive
      > tasks of keeping an eye out on two different children (both under 5
      > years old and both old enough to walk) are very different from the
      > ability to respond selectively to possible anomaly at a single point in
      > a broad field of vision while continuouslly monitoring the entire field.
      > The latter is epitomized by the ability of a quarterback in football or
      > a catcher in baseball to MONITOR everyone on the field of play
      > and shift focus to a single spot instantaneously (I've discussed this
      > with many highly successful athletes -- including a catcher in the
      > Major Leagues: it's essential, and not every male has it). The former
      > is characterized by holding a conversation with a peer while both
      > considering the facial responses (of emotion) in listening peers AND
      > monitoring the two children at different points of a playground. It's
      > of course possible for both sexes to do either, but males seem better
      > at the first (esp. those with ADHD), while females seem better at the
      > second.

      I think this reasoning leaves more questions than it answers. Why
      would ADHD females not have evolved similar mulitasking abilities
      if this was generally adaptive? BTW, this is not unique to ADHD,
      it perhaps applies even more to the autism-spectrum. So why
      didn't the evolutionary environment of Aspies/Hn require females
      to multitask and especially watch-out continously for what their
      children did? Possible reasons include that there were no specific
      dangers to children (no dangerous snakes, spiders for instance).
      Another possible reason that there seems to be no difference
      between Aspie males and fenales can be in gender-roles. I propose
      that Hn didn't have the hunter-gatherer distnction. First, their smaller
      groups didn't allow such division of labor, and second gathering
      was highly seasonal.

      Leif Ekblad
    • Leif Ekblad
      I forgot another thing that might be related. Research into reflex development in infants that later got diagnosed with autism or Asperger s syndrome show
      Message 2 of 14 , Oct 1, 2006
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        I forgot another thing that might be related. Research
        into reflex development in infants that later got diagnosed
        with autism or Asperger's syndrome show several
        anomalies. It seems like the normal infant develops
        from a lying position through crawling into an upright
        position. To successfully be able to crawl certain
        reflexes must be inhibited and others must later
        develop at the appropriate time to be able to
        sit and walk. Infants with autism / Asperger's
        syndrome does not follow this scheme. First,
        some reflexes are not inhibited which leads to
        abnormal crawling. Later some infants have
        no "fall-reflexes" which leads to problems
        when sitting. There are also reflex problems
        when learning to walk.

        From personal experience, I also know that
        at least some autistic children does not like
        to be left on the ground, but prefers to be
        carried all the time. Some primates actually
        carry their infants a lot, so this is not unique.

        If Hn carried their infants / small children
        most of the time, there would be little
        need to watch their actions. This could
        potentially explain the differences in
        multitasking.

        Leif Ekblad
      • roger.d.masters@dartmouth.edu
        Leif: I see two reasons for our difference in judgment here. First, I view this gender difference as a difference in the mean of a normal statistical
        Message 3 of 14 , Oct 1, 2006
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          Leif:

          I see two reasons for our difference in judgment here. First, I view this gender difference as a difference in the mean of a normal statistical distribution of males and of females. Put two normal curves on top of each other, with the means (say) 1/4 or 1/2 a standard deviation apart. In this case, there will be "similar multitasking abilities in some respects, but not identicall in mechanisms.

          Now lets look at ADHD (see enclosure). It's a more complex condition than most of us realize, It's called a "spectrum disorder" by some, but better viewed as a cluster of traits. These include hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation, learning from a VISUAL image rather than a verbal message, "reward deficiency syndrome" -- i.e., reinforcement primarily by sensory pleasures such as food and sex with little gratification from verbal praise, and greater than average physical activity. Can you guess which of the foregoing are slightly stronger on average in males, and which in females? Seems to me that there's a gender difference (and I've observed it in members of a family with ADHD). That a deficit in dopamine function due to D2, D4 or D5 dopamine receptor mutants might have somewhat different effects in such a cluster for males and females shouldn't be a huge mystery: differences in male and female hormones can interact with the deficit in dopaminergic function.

          Now a little common sense about selective pressures. No human male (to my knowledge) has ever given birth to a viable human child. Watching young children while doing other things in a group is thus a behavior that has a higher probability in the female behavioral repertoire than the male behavioral repertoire. The other things women often do can include talking within the group and cooking, not to mention hunter-gathering. Since ADHD traits include hypersensitivity to sensory input, the alerting mechanism to a child in trouble doesn't have to be as heavily weighted on line visual monitoring of all points in the visual field as is the case for males. For a hunter, as for a football quarterback, the processing of visual fields entails a constant monitoring of everything to attend to any novelty or anomaly. For a gatherer, attention shifts but inspection is more focuses on one part of the visual field without ignoring cues from other areas or sensory modalities (e.g., crying baby behind you).

          Women tell me that they pay attention to the emotions and decoding the intent of multiple others more than their husbands. Men are sometimes frustrated that their wives are attending to too many details instead of getting on with a specific task (getting in the car to leave for a trip rather than double checking several things in the house).

          I could be wrong about all this. OK: do you know of any scientific studies of something akin to multitasking in the sense that I've tried to describe? One example would be: how long does an individual persist in looking for a specific hidden clue in a complex visual field? Another would be: while talking in a group of 5 individuals, how accurate is the perception of changes in the facial displays of emotion by those with whom the individual is NOT directly talking? This latter processing ability, which is an attempt to define a measure of SENSITIVITY to other's feelings and intentions, is something that women often claim they do better than their husbands. In short, I find the hypothesis of NO difference in the range, median, and standard deviation of an innate skill in males and females who share a specific mutation at one gene locus seems to require empirical evidence. Assuming no difference,as your posting seems to think plausible, is thus open to question,


          roger
          --- You wrote:

          I think this reasoning leaves more questions than it answers. Why
          would ADHD females not have evolved similar mulitasking abilities
          if this was generally adaptive?
          --- end of quote ---
        • H.M. Hubey
          There are other possible explanations. The mother s condition might have been such that the infant is born fearful. It might cling to the mother for no other
          Message 4 of 14 , Oct 1, 2006
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            There are other possible explanations. The mother's condition
            might have been such that the infant is born fearful. It might
            cling to the mother for no other reason, to be comforted. It might
            have tried walking or crawling and did a bad job, e.g. crawled on rocks
            or fell down, and preferred to be carried. It might have walked and
            gotten tired and preferred to be carried. The mother might have pushed
            the child to walk too soon, forcing the child to go backwards e.g.
            being carried.




            Leif Ekblad wrote:
            I forgot another thing that might be related. Research
            into reflex development in infants that later got diagnosed
            with autism or Asperger's syndrome show several
            anomalies. It seems like the normal infant develops
            from a lying position through crawling into an upright
            position. To successfully be able to crawl certain
            reflexes must be inhibited and others must later
            develop at the appropriate time to be able to
            sit and walk. Infants with autism / Asperger's
            syndrome does not follow this scheme. First,
            some reflexes are not inhibited which leads to
            abnormal crawling. Later some infants have
            no "fall-reflexes" which leads to problems
            when sitting. There are also reflex problems
            when learning to walk.
            From personal experience, I also know that
            at least some autistic children does not like
            to be left on the ground, but prefers to be
            carried all the time. Some primates actually
            carry their infants a lot, so this is not unique.

            If Hn carried their infants / small children
            most of the time, there would be little
            need to watch their actions. This could
            potentially explain the differences in
            multitasking.

            Leif Ekblad


            -- 
            Regards,
            
            M. Hubey
          • Leif Ekblad
            Roger Masters ... Yes, so do I. I also view ADHD/autism as two normal distributions: One of Hs origin and another of Hn origin. Most of ADHD/autism falls on
            Message 5 of 14 , Oct 2, 2006
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              Roger Masters
              > I see two reasons for our difference in judgment here. First,
              > I view this gender difference as a difference in the mean of a
              > normal statistical distribution of males and of females.

              Yes, so do I. I also view ADHD/autism as two normal distributions:
              One of Hs origin and another of Hn origin. Most of ADHD/autism falls
              on the Hn normal distribution.

              > Put two normal curves on top of each other, with the means (say)
              > 1/4 or 1/2 a standard deviation apart. In this case, there will
              > be "similar multitasking abilities in some respects, but not
              > identicall in mechanisms.

              This is how ADHD clusters on the above mentioned normal
              distributions.

              BTW, I really see very little difference between ADHD, Aspergers and
              social phobia. The main aspect separating these conditions seems to
              be introvert-extrovert personality type. If you're extrovert, you
              will more likely end up being labeled ADHD. If you're introvert, you
              will more likely be labeled with Social phobia. Autism/Asperger's
              are neutral on introvert-extrovert.

              > Now lets look at ADHD (see enclosure). It's a more complex
              > condition than most of us realize, It's called a "spectrum
              > disorder" by some, but better viewed as a cluster of traits.

              Very likely. And the traits in the enclosure are shared with the
              autism-spectrum to a large degree.

              > These include hypersensitivity to sensory stimulation,

              Hypersensitivity can be both part of the autism spectrum, part of
              ADHD, part of many other neuropsychiatric diagnosis and very likely
              can also be the only symptom. Yet, hypersensitivity probably has the
              same genetic background regardless if it's a comorbid to ADHD,
              autism or a separate condition.

              > learning from a VISUAL image rather than a verbal message,

              Also common in autistics.

              > "reward deficiency syndrome" -- i.e., reinforcement primarily by
              > sensory pleasures such as food and sex with little gratification
              > from verbal praise,

              Part of autistics as well.

              > and greater than average physical activity.

              Part of other conditions such as Bipolar. Bipolar defines both
              hyperactivity and hypoactivity, but both these forms are also
              recognized for ADHD.

              > Can you guess which of the foregoing are slightly stronger on
              > average in males, and which in females?

              I don't know.

              > Seems to me that there's a gender difference (and I've observed
              > it in members of a family with ADHD). That a deficit in dopamine
              > function due to D2, D4 or D5 dopamine receptor mutants might have
              > somewhat different effects in such a cluster for males and females
              > shouldn't be a huge mystery: differences in male and female
              > hormones can interact with the deficit in dopaminergic function.

              I don't think there is any deficit in dopamine, but I can imagine
              that the differences in D2, D4 and D5 can be manifested
              differently in males and females.

              > Now a little common sense about selective pressures. No human
              > male (to my knowledge) has ever given birth to a viable human
              > child. Watching young children while doing other things in a
              > group is thus a behavior that has a higher probability in the
              > female behavioral repertoire than the male behavioral repertoire.

              Absolutely.

              > The other things women often do can include talking within the
              > group and cooking, not to mention hunter-gathering.

              If a species is adapted for hunter-gathering, yes.

              > Since ADHD traits include hypersensitivity to sensory input, the
              > alerting mechanism to a child in trouble doesn't have to be as
              > heavily weighted on line visual monitoring of all points in the
              > visual field as is the case for males. For a hunter, as for a
              > football quarterback, the processing of visual fields entails a
              > constant monitoring of everything to attend to any novelty or
              > anomaly. For a gatherer, attention shifts but inspection is more
              > focuses on one part of the visual field without ignoring cues from
              > other areas or sensory modalities (e.g., crying baby behind you).

              The reaction to a cying baby probably is instinctual, and thus need
              not be part of conscious monitoring of the environment. Reading
              emotions also is instinctual, and thus can be multitasked easily. I
              don't think we should use instinctial processes as signs of
              multitasking abilities. We should limit ourselves to things we do
              consciously.

              > Women tell me that they pay attention to the emotions and decoding
              > the intent of multiple others more than their husbands. Men are
              > sometimes frustrated that their wives are attending to too many
              > details instead of getting on with a specific task (getting in the
              > car to leave for a trip rather than double checking several things
              > in the house).

              Certainly.

              > I could be wrong about all this. OK: do you know of any
              > scientific studies of something akin to multitasking in the sense
              > that I've tried to describe? One example would be: how long does
              > an individual persist in looking for a specific hidden clue in a
              > complex visual field? Another would be: while talking in a group
              > of 5 individuals, how accurate is the perception of changes in the
              > facial displays of emotion by those with whom the individual is
              > NOT directly talking? This latter processing ability, which is an
              > attempt to define a measure of SENSITIVITY to other's feelings and
              > intentions, is something that women often claim they do better
              > than their husbands. In short, I find the hypothesis of NO
              > difference in the range, median, and standard deviation of an
              > innate skill in males and females who share a specific mutation at
              > one gene locus seems to require empirical evidence. Assuming no
              > difference,as your posting seems to think plausible, is thus open
              > to question,

              I didn't question that females often are better at multitasking. I
              just think it was a too simple claim. Other things beside gender are
              important for how and what an individual can multitask. You brought
              up ADHD yourself as an example of a condition where multitasking
              ability is different.

              Leif Ekblad
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