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5 Facts: Women and T

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tHere are the 5 things you and your teachers need to understand about female learning and spatial ability.

Thanks to educator Susan Baranek  of Helena, Montana, for asking the question, “Have studies been done to see if higher testosterone levels in females leads to better spatial reasoning?”  She was a recent participant in our UGotClass Gender in the Classroom course.

  1. Females have one-tenth the testosterone.
    The average female has one-tenth of the testosterone as the average male. Even a gay male has many times more testosterone than a butch lesbian.
  2. Testosterone is related to spatial ability.
    The outstanding scientist Doreen Kimura first proved that males’ average superior spatial ability is due to having more testosterone. National Institute of Health studies confirm this. And Nancy Cole, when she was president of the Educational Testing Service, documented that females test significantly lower than males on spatial ability.
  3. About 20% of females have spatial ability akin to males.
    About 20% of females do have spatial ability skills at the same level as the average male. Trying to raise one’s testosterone level artificially for the average female is generally not a good idea, according to the Testosterone Centers of Texas. Numerous side effects range from fatigue to a much higher risk of heart attack.
  4. Females with CAH disorder have higher spatial ability.
    Spatial ability is exhibited by both males and females at birth. Females with Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, or CAH, have higher levels of testosterone at birth. They perform better than other females with spatial tasks, thus confirming the biological evidence relating spatial ability with testosterone levels.
  5. Women in later life may have better spatial ability.
    When their estrogen level declines later in life, the hormonal balance changes and testosterone becomes more evident. Thus women in later life may have better spatial ability than they did earlier in life.

For more, see the UGotClass course for educators on Gender in the Classroom, part of a new Certificate in Learning Styles.  Coates and Draves also presented the research findings on “Gender in the Online Classroom” recently at the big Distance Teaching & Learning Conference sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Photo: Doreen Kimura, psychobiologist and professor at the University of Western Ontario.


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