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J. Intell. 2014, 2(2), 36-55; doi:10.3390/jintelligence2020036

Sex Differences in Fluid Reasoning: Manifest and Latent Estimates from the Cognitive Abilities Test

1
Department of Educational Foundations, Leadership, and Technology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA
2
ACT, Iowa City, IA 52243, USA
These authors contributed equally to this work.
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 March 2014 / Revised: 19 May 2014 / Accepted: 3 June 2014 / Published: 12 June 2014
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Abstract

The size and nature of sex differences in cognitive ability continues to be a source of controversy. Conflicting findings result from the selection of measures, samples, and methods used to estimate sex differences. Existing sex differences work on the Cognitive Abilities Test (CogAT) has analyzed manifest variables, leaving open questions about sex differences in latent narrow cognitive abilities and the underlying broad ability of fluid reasoning (Gf). This study attempted to address these questions. A confirmatory bifactor model was used to estimate Gf and three residual narrow ability factors (verbal, quantitative, and figural). We found that latent mean differences were larger than manifest estimates for all three narrow abilities. However, mean differences in Gf were trivial, consistent with previous research. In estimating group variances, the Gf factor showed substantially greater male variability (around 20% greater). The narrow abilities varied: verbal reasoning showed small variability differences while quantitative and figural showed substantial differences in variance (up to 60% greater). These results add precision and nuance to the study of the variability and masking hypothesis. View Full-Text
Keywords: sex differences; cognitive abilities; quantitative reasoning; STEM sex differences; cognitive abilities; quantitative reasoning; STEM
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Lakin, J.M.; Gambrell, J.L. Sex Differences in Fluid Reasoning: Manifest and Latent Estimates from the Cognitive Abilities Test. J. Intell. 2014, 2, 36-55.

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