Saturday, January 07, 2012

Digging In The Sewers of Comments to the Mars/Venus Study

Just to demonstrate the audience for the kind of Mars/Venus study I discussed below I read the UK Telegraph's (somewhat erroneous) summary of the study with a once-again truncated response from Janet Hyde:
Prof Janet Hyde of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who proposed the theory that men and women have largely similar characteristics, said the method used by the researchers led to "uninterpretable" results.

She said: "The scientific evidence still shows that, contrary to stereotypes, men and women are quite similar on a wide array of psychological qualities."
Now that sounds pretty weak. Did professor Hyde really say something so weak?

The commentators to the Telegraph article assumed so, given that she is a flaming feminist (their assumption):
"Prof Janet Hyde of the University of Wisconsin – Madison, who proposed the theory that men and women have largely similar characteristics, said the method used by the researchers led to "uninterpretable" results.

She said: "The scientific evidence still shows that, contrary to stereotypes, men and women are quite similar on a wide array of psychological qualities." 

She would say that wouldn't she.

Only feminists , like Ms Hyde, say that there few differences between men and women. There is BIG public money for feminists in "equality", mostly paid for with male taxes of course.

You can be sure that she has never worked in a dirty, difficult, dangerous job though, like many men have to. Feminists like her usually work in cushy office jobs

What professor Hyde wrote about the study is this:
In their article, The Distance Between Mars and Venus: Measuring Global Sex Differences in Personality, Del Giudice, Booth, and Irwing challenge my Gender Similarities Hypothesis in the case of personality. Below I show that their methods lead to uninterpretible findings that fly in the face of contemporary personality theory. The Gender Similarities Hypothesis is still accurate and supported by massive amounts of data.
The main innovation in the Del Giudice paper is to introduce the use of Mahalanobis D to the measurement of the magnitude of gender differences. A staple of multivariate statistics for decades, D in this application measures the distance between 2 centroids in multivariate space [1]. It is a multivariate generalization of the d statistic used in many meta-analyses. What is not apparent from the Del Giudice paper, however, is that D is computed by taking the linear combination of the original variables that maximizes the difference between groups. What they have shown is that, if one takes a large enough set of personality measures and then takes a linear combination to maximize gender differences, one can get a pretty big gender difference. That is all they have shown – no more, no less.
An assumption of multivariate normality is crucial to Mahalanobis D if it is to be accurate [2]. The authors provide no statistical verification that their variables are distributed multivariate normally. In other research, apparent findings of large gender differences have crumbled when appropriate statistical methods were used for the non-normal, skewed distributions [3].
The gender difference that Del Giudice and colleagues have found is along a dimension in multivariate space that is a linear combination of the original variables transformed into latent variables. A point that is not mentioned in the Del Giudice article is that this dimension is the first discriminant function. Aside from the fact that the linear combination introduces bias by maximizing differences, the resulting dimension here is uninterpretible. What does it mean to say that there are large gender differences on this undefined dimension in 15-dimensional space created from latent variables? The authors call it global personality, but what does that mean? They promise to measure personality with greater “resolution,” yet in the end they have a single, undefined dimension of personality. They have blurred the question rather than offering higher resolution.
Did the author of the popularization have access to this article? Perhaps not.

And yes, I know that I should not read comments to anything about women or gender (which are seen the same thing by most readers, it seems), because then I get told that it is only men who work in dirty, dangerous or difficult occupations (and that feminism is financed by some weird creature called "male taxes").

Of course prostitution might just be the job with the highest risk of death and of course wiping the bottoms of the bed-bound elderly or small babies is pretty dirty (and traditionally female work).

So why did I go there? Because studies Have Consequences. When they are popularized in a biased manner, the comments might include things like this:
Vast amounts of money wasted to prove the obvious!
The feminist lie has ruined the lives of millions worldwide, all because people would not be themselves and attempted to be what they were told by others to be.
Be yourself and don't follow the crowd!

It is a scandal what feminism has done to society, one example is the normalisation of 2 working parent households. At one time prices, and salaries, were geared to one person working, but when feminism raised that to 2 the extra money was not used as extra - treats, but gobbled up into the normal monthly spend, and prices, houses especially, grew to accomodate the more funding available.


Exactly what I have been saying for the past thirty years!
(I do hope these comments remain here intact. About a month ago I criticised the feminist movement of the 1980s and was moderated out of existence! Obviously touched a nerve on whosoever was on duty that day!)
The damage done to society by feminism and 'equality' is incalculable.  Traditional roles were there because that was what suited the majority of people. Once again it was the strident, loud minority that spoiled it for the rest of us.
And like this:
There is a reason why male & female have different characteristics: true of many animals (lions, elephants ..) so hardly surprising that this applies to us. Now we have scientifically proved the obvious the question is what do we make of this in society? Is it a reason for discrimination in education? Next when we get past the PC brigade someone will be brave enough to prove racial differences are real and so explaining why for example one race might excel in a particular discipline (say long distance running) and the again the question is what do we do with this information? We are all different and best we celebrate our differences at an individual rather than a group level.

Sure, these are inane comments. And almost all the comments in that thread are meaningless because they do not discuss the study itself or appear to be based on actual understanding of the study. But that's what biased popularizations elicit.

To repeat: Studies Have Consequences. Even if we later find that many, many other studies fail to replicate those stunning types of findings, who cares? We had a nice time woman-bashing (essentially)! And someone gave us the license for that.