Gender Differences in the Estimation of Individual IQ Levels

A new study examines why men tend to overestimate their IQs and women on average underestimate their IQs. The researchers call this the “male-hubris, female-humility effect.” Many studies have shown that there are no differences in IQ between men and women but that most people tend to overestimate their own IQ.

Researchers asked a large group of participants to estimate their IQ after telling them the median IQ was 100 and two thirds of all humans score between 85 and 115. The participants estimated an average IQ of 107.5. They were then given an IQ test.

Looking at the lines plotting self-estimated IQ against actual IQ, found that men and women were fairly consistent in their accuracy. The difference was that male scores were more often overestimated and females scores were more often underestimated. Women who were tested to have more masculine traits on the  Bem Sex-Role Inventory, also tended to overestimate their IQs.

The authors conclude that when girls undervalue their intelligence in school, they tend to choose less challenging course content – especially in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. These decisions limit their education and career choices after school.

The full study, “Gender Differences in Self-Estimated Intelligence: Exploring the Male Hubris, Female Humility Problem,” was published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. It may be accessed here.

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  1. Chad Chen says:

    “Many studies have shown there are no differences in IQ between men and women” ???

    Correction: There are no significant differences in average IQ between men and women, but there are more men than women with very high and very low IQs

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