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Average IQ of students by college major and gender ratio chart

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So... the smartest people go into maths and sciences?

According to this chart, Larry Summers was right.

What did Larry Summers say?

In January 2005, at a Conference on Diversifying the Science & Engineering Workforce sponsored by the National Bureau of Economic Research, Summers sparked controversy with his discussion of why women may have been underrepresented "in tenured positions in science and engineering at top universities and research institutions".

Summers had prefaced his talk, saying he was adopting an "entirely positive, rather than normative approach" and that his remarks were intended to be an "attempt at provocation."[29]

Summers then began by identifying three hypotheses for the higher proportion of men in high-end science and engineering positions:

  1. The high-powered job hypothesis
  2. Different availability of aptitude at the high end
  3. Different socialization and patterns of discrimination in a search[29]

The second hypothesis, the generally greater variability among men (compared to women) in tests of cognitive abilities,[30] [31] [32] leading to proportionally more males than females at both the lower and upper tails of the test score distributions, caused the most controversy. In his discussion of this hypothesis, Summers said that "even small differences in the standard deviation [between genders] will translate into very large differences in the available pool substantially out [from the mean]".[29] Summers referenced research that implied differences between the standard deviations of males and females in the top 5% of twelfth graders under various tests. He then went on to argue that, if this research were to be accepted, then "whatever the set of attributes... that are precisely defined to correlate with being an aeronautical engineer at MIT or being a chemist at Berkeley... are probably different in their standard deviations as well".[29]

Summers then concluded his discussion of the three hypotheses by saying:

So my best guess, to provoke you, of what's behind all of this is that the largest phenomenon, by far, is the general clash between people's legitimate family desires and employers' current desire for high power and high intensity, that in the special case of science and engineering, there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude, and that those considerations are reinforced by what are in fact lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination. I would like nothing better than to be proved wrong, because I would like nothing better than for these problems to be addressable simply by everybody understanding what they are, and working very hard to address them.[29]

Summers then went on to discuss approaches to remedying the shortage of women in high-end science and engineering positions.

This lunch-time talk drew accusations of sexism and careless scholarship, and an intense negative response followed, both nationally and at Harvard.[33]Summers apologized repeatedly.[34] Nevertheless, the controversy is speculated to have contributed to his resigning his position as president of Harvard University the following year, as well as costing Summers the job of Treasury Secretary in Obama's administration.[35]

Summers's protégée Sheryl Sandberg, has defended him saying that "Larry has been a true advocate for women throughout his career" at the World Bank and Treasury. Sandberg described of the lunch talk "What few seem to note is that it is remarkable that he was giving the speech in the first place - that he cared enough about women's careers and their trajectory in the fields of math and science to proactively analyze the issues and talk about what was going wrong".[36]

Me: "Larry Summers, you're bordering on sexism and careless scholarship!"

To which Summers replies,

I'm devastated by that. ~Social Network Larry Summers gif - PandaWhale

Kinda feeling two ways about this: on the one hand, I'm guessing their IQ test is heavily weighted towards maths. Insofar as the SAT is an IQ test, it tries to be more balanced or even weighted the other way. On the other hand, I sort of do believe that education majors are the dumbest and unfortunately the most female-dominant major. :/

Society needs educators, social workers, health care professionals, etc.

But I know how you feel, the chart seems to be making a value judgment. 

how does a man version of the chart change? how can we attach the reason behind major selection into the equation?  Would we see a boost to education majors if teachers were treated better/rewarded more in America? 

Unclear. I mean, there's a lot of people in education who do make a lot of money as administrators.

So more money isn't necessarily a solution, either.

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