Last week we got a nice heads’ up from Tracy, who shared this article in the NY Times. It looks at the sexes from a data science perspective. Are men really from Mars? Are women really from Venus? What happens when you strip away the stereotypes and human intuition about how men and women are different (or not) and look at the sexes as a data scientist would?
The study was done by Bobbi Carothers (a senior data analyst at Washington University) and Harry Reis (a psychology professor at the University of Rochester). It used a data science technique called taxometric analysis to crunch data from 13 studies, looking at 122 attributes of men and women from a sample of more than 13,000 individuals.
A few highlights:
Despite many stereotypes, both men and women are basically the same when it comes to their interest in casual sex, the allure of a potential mate’s virginity, general assertiveness and the value they place on close friendships. They also share the frequency of science-related activities in their lives – not the sexiest factoid, but kind of interesting anyway.
That said, men and women were statistically different in some other ways. For example, there are differences where physical size is an issue (ex. athletics). Men really do seem to play more video games. Women really do seem to do more scrapbooking.
While there are a lot of other fascinating tidbits in the study, the main takeaway seems to be: men and women are a lot more alike than some stereotypes suggest. Who knew data science could be so sexy?