Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nature vs Nurture -- Shaped by Social and Economic Conditions?

[Hat tip to Salon's Broadsheet, who brought this story to my attention]

According to a study by Dr. Schmitt et al., a psychologist at Bradley University in Illinois and the director of the International Sexuality Description Project (how that for a cocktail party conversation starter?), the more men and women have equal rights and similar jobs, the more intense the gender differences and the more strictly defined their roles become. Article in the NY Times here. Schmitt et al's paper Why Can’t a Man Be More Like a Woman? Sex Differences in Big Five Personality Traits Across 55 Cultures can be found its entirety here.

Counterintuitive, isn't it?

Does the magnitude of sex differences in personality traits demonstrate some sort of gene–environment interaction? Or does this simply suggest that despite innate differences that males and females can equally enter the soul-crunching dog-eat-dog, stress-and-disease-inducing race to wealth, fame, power or status?

Thoughts, anyone?

1 comment:

Andrew said...


In my opinion, there has been and will continue to be a range of continuing adjustments which are the natural outgrowth of women being given more equal status in many western societies.

Perhaps the phenonnomen you describe is one such form of adjustment.