Psychology ETDs

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A great deal of past research has focused on the differences between males and females within our society. In particular, cognitive differences have been studied extensively. Males have been found to perform significantly better than do females on tasks involving spatial, numerical, and mechanical abilities, whereas females are often found to perform better than do males on tasks involving verbal abilities and social relations. A large number of researchers have attempted, with varying degrees of success, to relate differential performance in these areas to differences in masculine versus feminine orientation. The present study attempts to relate masculinity­-femininity to differential performance on six subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale. Although several previous researchers have made similar attempts, all have failed to take into account the multidimensionality of the construct of masculinity-femininity. In the first phase of the study, 210 college students were administered a questionnaire comprised of the M-F scales from the following personality tests: the California Psychological Inventory (CPI), the Omnibus Personality Inventory (OPI), and the Guilford- Zimmerman Temperament Survey. In addition to these three scales, the questionnaire also included the complete Allport Vernon Lindzey Study of Values (AVL). Scores from these four tests were subjected to a principal component analysis, and a composite M-F score was derived for each subject. On the basis of these scores, male-female pairs were formed in which subjects were matched along the dimension of masculinity-femininity. The 38 subjects thus matched returned for the second phase. During this phase, all subjects were individually administered a short form of the WAIS, containing the six subtests which comprise the M-F index. A multiple regression analysis was employed in order to determine the degree to which masculinity-femininity, biological sex, and the interaction between the two are associated with performance on the WAIS M-F index. The results failed to support the hypothesis that an individual's WAIS M-F score is significantly related to his or her degree of masculinity-femininity. The only measured variable which was significantly predictive of WAIS M-F performance was that of biological sex. Separate multiple regression analyses relating WAIS feminine scores and WAIS masculine scores to biological sex and masculinity-femininity suggested that performance on the typically female subtests may be positively correlated with femininity. Further research in this area is called for. The results from this study lead to the conclusion that biological sex has the greatest utility in the prediction of performance on the WAIS M-F index. Until further research is done on the separate male and female subtests, low scores obtained on subtests which are generally easier for persons of the opposite sex should be interpreted with extreme caution, as should intertest scatter between male and female subtests.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Ralph David Norman

Second Committee Member

William Richard Miller

Third Committee Member

Harold D. Delaney



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Psychology Commons