In 2040, I will spend some time reviewing the current state of expert discourse regarding innate psychological differences by biological sex. This review will consist of light-to-moderate internet reading, browsing studies that have been completed, and requesting the assistance of any personal acquaintances that can best help inform me.
I will make a subjective judgment regarding the "experts" on this topic as of 2040, which will likely be a list of individuals who I (with the help of light research) consider best-informed in that future period.
There needs to be expert "consensus" for this market to resolve. If there is no consensus, I will update the market close timing to be 5 years in the future. I will continue to push out the close date until there is expert consensus. A rough approximation of consensus from my perspective is ~80% of experts voicing roughly the same thing.
I will interpret "strong" subjectively. I don't have a great threshold in mind, but I can try to respond to questions in the comments section if helpful.
By "innate" I am referring to the nature/nurture question (i.e., without regard to societal priming).
I am referring to "biological sex" at birth - not gender.
I'm not particularly knowledgeable about this subject as of market creation, but my rough understanding is that - as of market creation - there is no expert consensus on this question.
I may "n/a" and/or "unlist" this question preemptively if it becomes a comment cesspool or if my quality of life decreases for having created the market.
I'm not particularly knowledgeable about this subject as of market creation, but my rough understanding is that - as of market creation - there is no expert consensus on this question.
Maybe that depends on who is counted as experts. Sometimes a clear consensus on obvious questions can be prevented by ideology (as with e.g. Lysenkoism).
From my perspective, the question of whether there are average differences in various personality traits for biological reasons is extremely overdetermined (both based on existing research and based on "common sense").
Although I see it as overdetermined if asked as a yes-no-question, I think there is a lot that we have yet to learn if it's asked more as a question of degree.
I'm adding a screenshot from here (although admittedly, the sample size of the studies that are referenced isn't great).
The market creator hasn't defined how they'll interpret "innate" but here's my proposal, based on observed sex differences (not innate necessarily, but based on what we observe of then after encountering culture)
Animals raised in groups have sex differences. Raised alone they do too.
Same for apes.
Animal sex differences are clearly biological, since they occur with it without contact with other animals.
Humans in ALL societies have characteristic behavior differences by sex. Many societies have tried but none have erased the differences. None have flipped the roles for major things either such as crime, violence, childrearing focus. These go the stereotypical way in ALL societies.
So in sum: there's no biological reason to expect the sexes to be the same, and there's no evidence that behaviors can be equalized or reversed despite lots of people trying. We observe sex differences in animal and human groups. So obviously the claim is false.
If you disagree tell me when and why evolution changed apes, who have sex differences even when raised alone, to lose them.
Also explain how evolution balanced human biology to have this trait even while humans were involved in intensely sex discriminating cultures the whole time.
So even if evolution were aiming for equality of outcome, under those circumstances it would have no way to know what was innate vs the result of nature+nurture since everyone was raised within cultures with sex based cultural rules.
"there's no evidence that inbuilt behaviors can be equalized or reversed despite lots of people trying"
Counterexample: Murder rates. Men commit more murders than women, probably for innate reasons (presumably the reason men are way stronger than women is to win physical fights with other men). I think in nature, human murder rates are orders of magnitude higher than in civilized countries, so in absolute terms if you take the average number of murders a hunter-gatherer male commits and subtract off the average number of murders a hunter-gatherer female commits, you will get a result that is way bigger than if you take the average number of murders a danish male commits and subtract off the average number of murders that a danish female commits.
@tailcalled So I think civilization can eliminate most of the sex difference in murder rates.
@tailcalled we're talking about psychology here right? The claim is that men respond with physical violence in characteristic ways different than women. Sure global murder rates can change (due to police, medical science etc) but that doesn't change the fact that mens psychology still is systematically different than women's.
If your example were "imagine a super high tech society with perfect medicine; all murder victims are immediately healed by it." Would that show men are no longer different? No, I think it'd just be treating the side effects of that difference.
@StrayClimb By psychology you mean stuff like behaviors, beliefs, plans, values, perceptions, etc., right?
I think if you had an invincibility field that perfectly prevented murder then that would obviously have effects on people's psychology, because they would stop planning to murder people.
@tailcalled I agree it would affect psychology. Many aspects of tech and culture affect psychology. None so far has ever removed or reversed sex differences, however.
@StrayClimb If incentives by the police can reduce the murder rate by men from 0.02 to 0.002 and the murder rate by women from 0.002 to 0.0004, then surely the reduction from a difference size of 0.018 murders to a difference size of 0.0016 murders counts as a reduction in the sex difference of 90%, no? Which is most of the way to removing the sex difference. (Hypothetical made-up numbers because I once heard that hunter-gatherers have a murder-rate of 0.02.)
@tailcalled Oops in retrospect I meant to write men going from 0.02 to 0.002 and women going from 0.002 to 0.0001 for better nonlinearity realism, but I put the nonlinearity in the wrong spot by accident. The qualitative point still stands but you may want to recompute the numbers.
@StrayClimb the market is about innate sex differences in psychology though. There are lots of ways to differentially impact later, non-innate outcomes such as by putting all men in jail from birth to reduce murder but by definition that doesn't affect innate differences.
@StrayClimb the reason I made my argument is that among children of capitalists, anarchists, Buddhists, Jain, christians, ancient Romans, modern zoomers, etc etc In every case boys punch each other growing up more than girls and adult males attempt murder more. In every culture ever recorded. That's why I'm suggesting it's an argument for innate.
@tailcalled by your argument, since in absolute the gap between men's and women's athletic scores has decreased, the gap will eventually close. This was a common argument in the 80s but has failed and there is still no prospect that female sex 100m runners will ever be faster than male.
@tailcalled agree. But it wouldn't affect their innate psychology which is what this market is about.
"agree. But it wouldn't affect their innate psychology which is what this market is about."
@StrayClimb Yes but I wasn't responding to that, I was responding to the claim that we haven't equalized any sex differences. Whereas we actually have mostly equalized murder at ~0.
"by your argument, since in absolute the gap between men's and women's athletic scores has decreased, the gap will eventually close."
I don't follow?
"This was a common argument in the 80s"
I have a hard time believing this.
@tailcalled here's an example reference for the claim. https://www.nytimes.com/1992/01/07/science/2-experts-say-women-who-run-may-overtake-men.html
@StrayClimb Paywalled, so I can't tell whether it shows that it is common, or if it is just some rare extreme viewpoint. The fact that it says "2" suggests to me that it is just some rare extreme viewpoint tho, since there were orders of magnitude more than 2 people in the 80s.
Criteria should define strong quantitatively. I suggest cohen's d > 0.66
@JonathanRay I agree with using Cohen's d. That was what I've been using to discuss effect sizes in the comments already, and it seems like the most natural way to determine if the differences are strong. Hard to say what the cutoff should be, though. Is there a specific reason you chose 0.66? Apparently, Cohen originally described 0.80 as an indicator that an effect size was "large": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Effect_size#Cohen's_d
@JosephNoonan Kinda arbitrary. But effect sizes in psychology tend to be smaller than in other fields. Replicability + d>0.66 would make it more legit than 95+% of pop psychology.
@JonathanRay Wait, Cohen's d of what? Is there some metric defined in the comments below?
I'd propose @CarsonGale define two classes of individuals which he believes have 'strong psychological differences' e.g. 'The average 20 year old vs the average 60 year old', or 'The average pro athlete vs the average professor'.
@JacobPfau Click the Wikipedia link in my comment above. Cohen's d is just the name of a certain measure of effect size that you can use to determine if a difference between two populations is large.
@JosephNoonan When I asked, "Wait, Cohen's d of what?", I was asking about the specific metric or context in which Cohen's d would be used to measure the effect size, not the definition of Cohen's d itself.
@JacobPfau any psychological trait that can be measured. mental rotation is one of the biggest with d=0.73 in a meta-analysis
To summarize why I keep buying NO:
I firmly believe that many of the psychological differences seen between men and women have more to do with sex hormones than anything else related to gender assigned at birth. My experience as a a trans woman who has been on HRT for nearly 7 years leads me to believe that if you did a neurological study comparing trans women who have been on estrogen for > 2 years and cis women, you would not find any strong or particularly significant differences. Estrogen and testosterone have wide-ranging and significant impacts on the body, including the brain.
I strongly believe that trans people on HRT are neurologically more similar to people of their gender, NOT people of the gender they were assigned at birth; and I think it's quite possible that pre-transition trans people are also more similar to people of their gender than they are to people of the gender they were assigned at birth.
I would be surprised if there isn't already a consensus on this. Men and Women have different hormones, and these hormones affect our psychology.
@YoavTzfati Biological sex at birth isn't necessarily correlated with sex hormones, though. In particular, trans people on HRT have sex hormones that do not align with the hormones typically associated with their sex assigned at birth. (I believe there are also some intersex people for whom this is the case, but don't quote me on that.)
FWIW, if this question was "do sex hormones influence psychology?" I would be all in on YES. In my own experience as a trans woman, my psychology shifted signficantly after starting HRT. The psychological effects of estrogen and testosterone are real and measurable.
However, given my own experiences - i.e. the fact that many of my psychological features, e.g. mental illness, present in a way that are more "typically female" than "typically male" - I will continue betting NO on this market.
I'm pretty confident the market's will include the effect of sex hormones on psychology, because sex hormones are the main mechanism by which sex makes you male. Like, imagine the market was 'are men naturally much stronger than women'? If we can separate hormones out, this has to resolve to no (trans men on HRT build muscle and trans women on HRT lose it). And more generally, literally any difference between men and women can be intervened in chemically / biologically, so any natural difference could be said to be environmental because some chemical intervention could change it.
@jacksonpolack Hm. I see your point, but I still think there's a semantic distinction to be made between "neurological differences caused by sex hormones" and "neurological differences caused by sex assigned at birth" (even though those are typically closely aligned); i.e. the former allows for change over time while the latter is more immutable/permanent. Or, to put it another way - if different sex hormones significantly change one's neurology, then the effects of biological sex on neurology are A: smaller than the differences caused by sex hormones and B: impossible to disentangle from the effects of said sex hormones.
@YoavTzfati woke journalists and big tech censors are pretty good at misleading the public about what the scientific consensus is
@jacksonpolack empirically trans men on HRT are not as strong as cis men. Hormones don't fully compensate for the lack of a Y chromosome.
empirically trans men on HRT are not as strong as cis men
Do you have a source for that? I didn't bother to check because it's a thought experiment for the argument about mental traits but I'm curious independently. And I'm pretty sure there's some level of male sex hormones/analogues that'd put trans men above average cis men in strength (analogous to straight men doing steroids), which works just as well for the argument.
1. Years of following the bodybuilding community. Women who take androgenic anabolic steroids are very obviously a lot smaller/weaker than men who take similar.
2. "Median serum testosterone levels were similar between the cisgender and transgender groups (638 vs. 685 ng/dl; p = 0.863). Mean serum estradiol levels were slightly higher in the transgender men (51.95 ± 44.26 vs. 32.26 ± 8.40 pg/ml, p = 0.005), and the median testosterone use duration in the transgender group was 24 months. Total muscle mass (44.09 ± 6.27 vs. 55.71 ± 7.28 kg, p < 0.001), and hand grip strength (28.82 ± 5.42 vs. 40.34 ± 8.03 kg, p < 0.001) were considerably lower in the transgender men."
Ok thanks, I believe that.
Do any NO holders think such 'strong differences' don't exist, and why? as opposed to thinking they do exist but science won't acknowledge it or smth
@jacksonpolack There have to be strong, innate differences. Both of those words are important. We know of plenty of psychological differences between the sexes, but they are small. Usually the difference in the average of some trait between the sexes is smaller than the variation between individuals (e.g., Gigacasting below refers to "massive 0.3-0.5 sd differences", but I don't think a 0.3-0.5 standard deviation difference counts as "strong" by any reasonable definition). "Innate" also matters - there are lots of socially conditioned differences that don't count here.
So no, I don't think there's any sort of cover-up where scientists refuse to acknowledge differences between the sexes (the differences we do know of are taught in high school psychology, so obviously no one is suppressing this knowledge). I just think there's a good chance that the consensus will be that there aren't any innate differences significant enough to count as "strong" by whatever standard Carson Gale uses.
I was gonna write something about the person-thing distinction as mentioned below, but then realized there's an easier one.
And that's propensity to physical aggression, violence, and homicide.
A 2000 global study on homicide by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime found that men accounted for about 98 percent of all homicide perpetrators worldwide
(i thought it was 90%, tbh, 98 seems a bit high but idk)
Fights between men are much more violent than fights between women.
This seems obviously innate, given how uniform the pattern of 'male violence' is across human societies.
I think such differences are obviously 'strong'. And am also confident they are innate, although I could see that not being obvious. I could write more / find more links on this if you're curious.
@jacksonpolack The difference in homicide rate is only on the fringes of the aggression distribution, though. The average man and the average woman both commit about the same number of homicides (approximately zero). So murder statistics can't do that much to get you a strong difference between the sexes.
Even a small difference in aggression between males and females can lead to a large discrepancy in the number of men and women who are on the extremes (and homicide is certainly at the extreme). As a toy model, assume that we have some measure of aggression that follows a normal distribution with the same variance for both men and women, and that people who exceed some threshold commit homicide. If this threshold is 4 standard deviations above the overall mean aggression (I don't know the exact murder rate, but that seems like a reasonable amount), then a 0.2 std dev difference between male and female aggression would be enough to make the homicide rate 2.3 times higher for men than for women. A 1 standard deviation difference would be enough to make the the homicide rate for men 68.5 times as high as that for women, which is larger than the difference according to the 98% statistic. So, even if the differences in aggression are 100% biological, they don't necessarily have to be that strong to account for a vastly larger homicide rate among men.
Also, I think it's highly likely that part of the difference is innate and part is socially conditioned. How much of the difference is caused by nature and how much is nurture is, as far as I know, an open question.
Propensity to non-homicide interpersonal aggression and violence is much higher among men than women! There's a reason "gangs" are made of men. Bar fights.
Another one would be propensity to commit sexual violence. A response is "that's confounded y size, women would rape men if they were physically stronger". I think that's obviously false - direct, physically coercive interpersonal aggression from women is much less common than it is from men. even in situations where women are stronger.
(also, i don't think however you measure aggression is going to be normally distributed. it's going to be a lot more fat-tailed, meaning that small differences will compound less. )
Do you think there are differences between different genders of other animals? What techniques were used to determine that? Are they applicable to humans too?
Here is a duplicate of this market, but excluding desire for sex as a psychological criteria
(These are all markets in whether the class of experts gets worse as admissions standards and population iq fall…)
massive 0.3-0.5 sd sex differences on dozens of traits, brain size, neuron count, spatial rotation etc
Lol at the shocking ignorance and expert worship of people on this site
@Gigacasting you don't have to worship experts to make a market about them!
The key word here is "strong". As I understand it, the current consensus is that there are some psychological differences, but they are very small.
@JosephNoonan yes. We need a mathematical threshold here. I.e. there are tests which give >x% confidence or whatever. This requires defining how much "cultural influence" will be used to explain results.
Basically, what kind of evidence, hypothetically, would be sufficient?
Do sex differences in sexual orientation (men are attracted to women and women are attracted to men) and unrestricted sociosexuality (men want lots of casual sex with many different partners and women a committed partner) count as psychological?
@tailcalled no to the first, probably yes to the latter
Can we have a conditional of this given you have at least one child of each sex by this point? 😊
@StrayClimb I'll try to steer clear of anecdotal evidence :)
Research I am familiar with suggests that any “innate” psychological differences based on sex assigned at birth are likely to be very small if present at all. So even if one believes in innate differences, the odds that they would be sufficiently strong to resolve YES seem low to me.
Hey @MaggieDelano, would you be ok if I changed the description slightly, such that if there is no consensus by 2040 I push out the close date by 5 years rather than "n/a" the question? Sorry I know this is after the fact.
@CarsonGale Sure no problem!
mind posting that research?
the research i'm aware of is e.g. https://old.reddit.com/r/slatestarcodex/comments/6tyj22/how_established_is_the_things_vs_people_gender/