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Gender Differences in Intelligence in Relation to Early Years of Education

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In comparison to past paradigms, there have been major theoretical shifts in the perception of the contribution of gender in intelligence. There is a comparative shift in the role that education is perceived to play in the process of gender formation. Educators have employed different approaches to counteract gender discrimination in schooling. The manifestations of intelligence take different forms in early childhood. Spatial skill is one of them. It was believed by some experts that gender difference in intellectual abilities is rooted in boys' superior ability to reason. The essentialist and biological points of views regarding gender and gender formation have shifted now to views that perceive gender as a socio-cultural process, constructed socially (Lundeberg, 1997).

Gender differences in spatial skills are present in elementary school and are persistent throughout life. It has also been observed that children good at spatial reasoning can solve complex mathematic  problems better. It has been proposed that androgens in males may be responsible for this. However, concrete evidence supporting this concept is inconsistent. Heredity may indeed contribute to male superiority in spatial reasoning; there is an undeniable role of socio-cultural experiences in discerning the difference.

Support of this view comes from the observation that children engaging in spatial manipulative activities fair better on tasks involving spatial reasoning, which may be interpreted as manifestations of superior intelligence (MacNaughton, 1993). Examples may be taken from playing video games. These require rapid mental rotation of visual images. In this area, spatial test scores of boys and girls are identical despite the fact that culturally, boys spend more time in these pursuits in comparison to the girls (Arnold et al. , 1994).

Earlier, many researchers believed that abilities in spatial, mathematical, and verbal skills were the areas where gender differences in terms of cognitive attributes occurred.

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