Are women superior to men? Research suggests most of us are more likely to believe that sex differences favor females

Credit: iStock
Credit: iStock

In [a new] study, 492 participants — most of whom resided in the United States, the United Kingdom, or Canada — were asked to carefully read a (fake) popular-science article that reported on a sex difference in either drawing ability or lying frequency. One version of each article claimed that men had outperformed women, while another version claimed that women had outperformed men.

After reading the article, the participants completed a questionnaire to gauge their attitudes about the findings.

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“The paper has two main takeaways. The first is that, as we suspected, people react less positively to sex differences that favor males than to those that favor females. For example, people view hypothetical research claiming that men draw better or lie less than women as more offensive, harmful, and upsetting than hypothetical research making the equal-but-opposite claims. They also view the male-favoring claims as less important and less plausible,” [researcher Steve] Stewart-Williams told PsyPost.

“The second takeaway is that people are very bad at predicting how the average man and woman will react to such research. Specifically, they predict that both sexes will strongly prefer differences that favor their own sex, when in fact women only moderately prefer own-sex favoring differences and men moderately prefer differences favoring women.”

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